November 25, 2010

Mark Insingel



Mark Insingel [Belgium/writes in Dutch]
1935

Born in 1935, poet Mark Insingel debuted in 1963 with a collection, Drijfhout (Driftwood). From the beginning he wrote in an experimental style that yet stood for as a social position advocating freedom of expression.

In this context Insingel also worked with aural and visual aspects of language, particularly in the collections PERPETUUM MOBILE of 1969, one of the first volumes of concrete poetry in the Dutch language, and in Posters of 1974.

In much of Insingel’s poetry, he repeats and juxtaposes phrases and lines, which give the reader the sense of mathematical structures.

In 1990 he published what he described as his collected poems, elkanders armen (In Each Other’s Arms); but since there he has published other works such as Niets (Nothing, 2005) and Iets (Something, 2007), works that have attracted a younger generation.

Insingel has also written novels, including Bespiegelingen (Reflections, 1968) and Eenzaam lichaam (Lonely Body, 1996).

He has won several literary prizes, including the Literary Prize of De Vlaamse Gids in 1970, the Readers’ Prize for best poetry in 2007, and a nomination for the prestigious Herman de Connick Prize in 2007).

BOOKS OF POETRY

Drijfhout (Deurle: Colibrant, 1963); PERPETUUM MOBILE (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1969); Posters (Bruges: Orion, 1974); Dat wil zeggen (Bruges: Sonneville, 1975); In elkanders armen (Haarlem, In de Knipscheer, 1990); Niets (Ghent: Po√ęziecentrum, 2005); Iets (Ghent: Po√ęziecentrum, 2007)

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

Ed. By Tom Van de Voorde, Poets from Flanders: Mark Insingel (Antwerp: Flemish Literature Fund, n.d.)



(from PERPETUUM MOBLIE, 1969)




With Heads Held High

with heads held high
with heads held high
with heads held high and in straight lines
with heads held high and in straight lines and with banners waving
with heads held high and in straight lines and with banners waving and at a steady pace
with heads held high and in straight lines and with banners waving and at a steady pace and with songs resounding
with heads held high and in straight lines and with banners waving and at a steady pace and with songs resounding and in bright uniforms
with heads held high and in closed ranks and with banners waving and at a steady pace and with songs resounding and in bright uniforms
with heads held high and in closed ranks and following the flag at a steady pace and with songs resounding and in bright uniforms
with heads held high and in closed ranks and following the flag and in march time and with songs resounding and in bright uniforms
with heads held high and in closed ranks and following the flag and in march time and with songs thundering and in bright uniforms
with heads held high and in closed ranks and following the flag and in march time and with songs thundering and in battle dress
with grinning faces and in closed ranks and following the flag and in march time and with songs thundering and in battle dress
with grinning faces and like a gang and following the flag and in march time and with songs thundering and in battle dress
with grinning faces and like a gang and pursuing the people and in march time and with songs thundering and in battle dress
with grinning faces and like a gang and pursuing the people and on the double and with songs thundering and in battle dress
with grinning faces and like a gang and pursuing the people and on the double and roaring and shouting and in battle dress
with grinning faces and like a gang and pursuing the people and on the double and roaring and shouting and spattered with blood

—Translated from the Dutch by James S. Holmes

(from Posters, 1974)



‘If I were not afraid
I would have the courage.
If I had the courage
I would succeed
I would be able to.
If I were able to
I would want it.
If I were to want it
I would be able to.
If I were able to
I would succeed
I would have the courage.
If I had the courage
Then I wouldn’t be afraid.’

Translated from the Dutch by Willem Groenewegen

(from In elkanders armen, 1990)


Does she want to be in the right
or him to be in the wrong?

Does she to be in the right
want him to be in the wrong?

Does she want to be in the right
to be able to say he’s in the wrong?

Does she want him to be wrong as punishment
for not letting her be in the right?

Does she need to be in the right
to erase her feeling of being wronged?

Doe she feel wronged because
he wants to be in the right?

Is his being in the right
her being in the wrong?

Translated from the Dutch by Willem Groenewegen

(from In elkanders armen, 1990)


She was so nice in
his confusion.
He was so slender in
her tenderness.

They were so exciting
in each other’s arms.

He was so slender in
his tenderness.
She was so nice in
her confusion.

They were so exciting
in each other’s arms.

He was so nice in
his confusion.
She was so slender in
her tenderness.

They were so exciting
in each other’s arms.

She was so slender in
his tenderness.
He was so nice in
her confusion.


Translated from the Dutch by Willem Groenewegen

(from In elkanders armen, 1990)

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