July 13, 2011

Nachoem M. Wijnberg

Nachoem M. Wijnberg [Netherlands}

Born in Amsterdam in 1961, Nachoem M. Winjberg studied Law and Economics at the University of Amsterdam, from where he graduated in 1982 and 1984. He received his Ph.D at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University in 1990.

Winjberg continued to work at the Rotterdam School of Management until he was appointed Professor Industrial Economics and Organization at Groningen University in 2001. Since 2005 he has taught at the University of Amsterdam. He has also been a professor of poetry at the European Graduate School since 2011.

Nachoem Wijnberg is regarded as one of the most important and influential poets of the Dutch language. He is an incredible inspiration to younger poets across the world. Wijnberg has received critical acclaim from the Dutch press. Rob Schouten of the Dutch Weekly publication VRIJ Nederland writes, "You will not readily take his work as belonging to anyone else in the Netherlands or anyone else from his generation."

Piet Gerbrandy of the Dutch daily De Volkskrant writes, "What Wijnberg writes does genuinely hurt. For that reason he is a great poet." Erik Lindner of the Dutch weekly publication, De Groene Amsterdammer observes, "Wijnberg is such a unique author that you always recognize his voice in extremely diverse collections. And that is the characteristic feature of a significant poet."

Wijnberg's poetry is praised for its clarity and simplicity. Literary critics debate the meaning of Wijnberg's evocative poetry. Attempts to pin down a definitive meaning lead critics in multiple directions, some disregard the search itself claiming that directness seen from the surface is the beauty in itself. One can look to Nachoem's Jewish origins for meaning. Some see references to the tragedies of World War II in his texts. Some praise Nachoem Wijnberg as a classical poet. Other's use a post-modern lens to see the critique that may lie within his words, questioning boundaries and rules of language, ambiguity and objectivity.

The poetry collection Liedjes by Wijnberg includes a website that explores the lyrical nature of the poetry. The project is a collection of poems that embrace melody and rhythm. The poetry moves with large and slow words to speak of morning and evening, sunrise and sunset, pain and solace. Wijnberg says that the starting point for this collectivity was that he wanted to, "write something that was a bit closer to music, partly because I thought that would make it easier to work with more explicit, major emotions and with powerful small words...without appearing ironic or exaggeratedly pathetic." Peter Gielssen and Niels van't Hoff made a documentary about Liedjes (Songs). In the film the poet reads 25 of the 88 poems
Wijnberg's work Geschenken has been awarded the Herman Gorterprijs in 1997. His work Vogels was awarded the Paul Snoek Prijs in 2004. Wijnberg's book Eerst dit dan dat was awarded the Jan Campertprijs in 2005. The author's publication Liedjes was awarded the Ida Gerhardtprijs in 2008 and his work Het leven van was given the VSBPoezieprijs in 2009. His work, Divan van Ghalib was awarded the Gedichtendagprijs in 2010.

Besides publishing poetry, the poet has published four works of fiction.


Die simulatie van de schepping (Haarlem: Holland, 1989); De woorstelling in de natchclub (Haarlem: Holland, 1990); De expeditie naar Cathay (Haarlem: Holland, 1991); Langzaam en zacht (Haarlem: Holland, 1993); Is het dan goed (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1994); Geschenken (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1996); Alvast (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1998); Vogels (Amsterdam: Contact, 2001); Uit 7 (Amsterdam: Contact, 2003); Eerst dit dan dat (Amsterdam: Contact, 2004); Liedjes (Amsterdam: Contact, 2006); Het leven van (Amsterdam: Contact, 2008); Divan van Ghalib (Amsterdam: Contact, 2009)

For a selection of three poems by Wijnberg published in our Green Integer Review, click below:

For two more poems, published on Words without Borders, click below:

For a reading by the poet in Dutch, click here:

For a short song performed with music and voice (Alfred Schaffer, Maarten Duinker & Jeroen Sep), words by the poet, click below:

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