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[I Dreamed in the Cities at Night]

Remco Campert

I Dreamed in the Cities at Night

Translated by Donald Gardner, with an introduction by Paul Vincent
Part of our Visible Poets series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

"You can see from my poems that I'm in the world. There is nothing closed about my work. I invite the world into my poetry." REMCO CAMPERT in De Groene Amsterdammer

Remco Campert published his first book of poetry at the age of twenty in 1951. He was the young star of the most self-aware and radical group of Dutch poets of the past century - the Vijftigers or 'Fifties' poets. With his subsequent poetry, fiction, humorous columns and performances he has become a household name in his own country. While his work is widely known on the European continent, with translations into Italian, French, Spanish and German, this is the first collection of his poetry to appear in the UK since 1968.

The light, off-hand tone of Campert's work, perfectly captured in this subtle and sensitive translation by Donald Gardner (himself a poet of distinction) is deceptive, so that it is easy to overlook its engagement with life. Campert is someone who thinks in poetry. His themes are love, desire and transience, but his treatment is never top-heavy.

This selection is drawn, with some exceptions, from Campert's mature work and is thematic rather than chronological. The poems form a sequence leading from fragmentary, darkly erotic texts via others composed in a more personal lyrical mode to the meditative seriousness of the last poems in the book.

Parallel text: Dutch / English

His great gift is that he writes largely about himself, but does so with so great a distance that it never feels like navel-gazing and so little that he never falls into facile irony. If you want to describe his tone, however, you are chasing a soap bubble.

Xandra Schutte in Vrij Nederland [Dutch weekly]

Paperback

ISBN-10: 1 904614 36 1
ISBN-13: 978 1604614 36 4
Published February 2007