LIVING SPACE: Poems of the Dutch ""Fiftiers by Peter--Ed. Glassgold

LIVING SPACE: Poems of the Dutch ""Fiftiers

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Apart from Flemish poet Paul Van Ostaijen's work, little Dutch poetry has been available in translation here--but editor Glassgold's anthology of a special, linked group of writers, the ""Fiftiers"" (originally aligned with the also consciously avant-garde Cobra group of painters) doesn't exactly whet the appetite. Bert Schierbeek (b. 1918) writes breathy, accordian-ish poems full of honks and discordances (at least in translation); Gerrit Kouwenaar (b. 1923) mixes vanguardism with treacle; the pseudonymous Lucebert (b. 1924) writes somewhat like Dali does (""on every pissing valve a priest/ on every vagina a father""); Sybren Polet (b. 1924) constructs vaguely technological, poster-like poems; Remco Campert (b. 1929) is the tight-lipped Humphrey Bogart of the group; while Hugo Claus, (b. 1929) makes poems that seem to retract upon hitting the air. That leaves Jan G. Elburg (b. 1919)--and he is very good indeed, not only by contrast with a weak fraternity. ""The big lungs of green/ breathe the wind/ everywhere: a cloud of apricot/ as from under a cork of clouds""--strong, unexpected, assured poetry, the one discovery to be made under a mostly toneless pile.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1979
Publisher: New Directions