May 20, 2013

Jeroen Theunnissen

Jeroen Theunissen [Belgium/writes in Dutch]
Born in Ghent in 1977, Jeroen Theunissen lives and works as a teacher of cultural history and media at Erasmus University in that city today.
At the university he studied German language and literature.
      Theunissen is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, having published four novels to date, De onzichtbare (2004, The invisible), Het einde (2006, The end), a work explores the boundaries of the genre, and een vorm van vermoeidheid (A form of fatigue, 2008). In 2013 he published The Detours.
      His first book of poetry, Thuisverlangen (Home Lust) was published by Meulenhoff/Manteau in 2005. A second book of poetry, Het zit zo (It’s like this) was published in 2009.
      Theunissen also edited the prestigious magazine, Yang.


Thuisverlangen (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Manteau, 2005); Het zit so (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Manteau, 2009)

A Sweetheart

My sweetheart washed flowers
with wood and with stones,
she came dancing down
in bigger steps.

Baked her clothes
from dough in ovens,
crept in my fingers
as in the stacks of the past.

Oh, were she as quiet
as the engravings of walls
with the mortar at home.

But she begs for soap
and for washing and neighbours
and a film on the box.

—Translated from the Dutch by Astrid van Baalen

What I saw today

I saw a lover locking the doors,
eat bread, sweetmeats and wait,
doze off in a car in the sun and
chatter with a lounging man.

I saw a pair of owlish spectacles on a red bed,
a program on orphaned children and
a bottle of mineral water next to the telly,
carrots, tomes the I read.

I saw the tap drip with victory,
I saw a hero climbing a mountain
of red, brown, orange, green and gray,
heroes! I barely saw the rustling.

I briefly closed my eyes and bellowed
From almost notnothing to almost notlback.

I saw the paper full with the opinions
of idealists, I saw the young women
and their painted toenails, I saw etc.

I saw grass, houses, wind, a computer,
people in a swimming pool, a beautiful dance,
I saw the jumper I would later wear against the cold.
That is what I saw today.

—Translated from the Dutch by Astrid van Baalen

English language copyright ©Astrid van Baalen, reprinted from Tom van de Voorde, ed., Poets from Flanders

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