The Past Is Never Dead
In this important Selected, we have the opportunity to finally read in English a body of work of growing resonance: the “pugnacious melancholy” of Hans van de Waarsenburg. Translated by Peter Boreas.
Hans van de Waarsenburg (1943) published his first collection of poems, entitled Gedichten (Poems) in 1965. His collection De vergrijzing (The Graying) was awarded the prestigious Jan Campert Prize for Poetry in 1973. In March 2004 he received the first Municipal Award of the Helmond Town Council for his entire work. He is the founder of The Maastricht International Poetry Nights –a biennial international poetry manifestation– and was its President from 1997 until 2013.
Hans van de Waarsenburg is quietly working on an impressive oeuvre. He possesses great technical skills, which he uses to vary and intensify his standard themes and motifs. He is no innovator, nor does he slavishly follow the latest fads. Neither is he a poet who forces himself on our attention in that loud entourage which more and more replaces literature itself. Loyalty is the key to Van de Waarsenburg’s work. His poetry expresses a loyalty to the people around him, loyalty to their motives and desires. He has an eye for their vulnerability, their futility and their restrictions. It is first of all expressed in the earnest and careful way in which he uses language. Thus a careful listener hears an individual and unmistakable voice rising from the poetry. — Hans Groenewegen