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