August 20, 2014

Menno Wigman

Menno Wigman [Netherlands]


Born in Beverwijk, Netherlands, on October 10, 1966, Menno Wigman grew up in Santpoort. As a sudent in the Gymnasium Felisenum in Velsen-Zuig, he found an entusiastic teacher in Dutch Lex ter Braak, who helped interest him in poetry. As a nineteen-year-old, Wigman wrote Two Poems which his teacher at the time, William Kramer, printed in a limited edition.

     In 1984 Wigman moved to Amsterdam in order to study Dutch literature and language. In these years he also published a book Zomers stinken alle steden (In the Summer All Cities Stink, 1997). He also published works under various psudonyms, including Buillaume de Bazelaire and Arthur van Salins, representing notions of decadent poets that recall the late 19th and early 20th century French Poèts Maudits. His dissertation was about Nico Slothouwer, a poet who died young. Wigman has also played in rock bands as a drummer.

      In 2001 Wigman published Zwart als kaviaar (Black as Cavier), which won the Jan Campert Prize. Although this second major book still focused on his disillusionment, it was less bitter. As Dutch critic Rob Schouten wrote: “The ugliness of the world and the failures of life continue to set the mood, but there may be some merit in this.... With increasing subtelty and effectiveness, Wigman succeeds in translation personal and up-to date impressions into universal and timeless terms and images. A punk rocker on his way to becoming a classic.”

     He followed up that book with an equally acclaimed collection, Dit is mijn dag (This Is My Day) in 2004.

     In 2005 Wigman spent three months as a poet in residence at the psychiatric institution Willem Arntsz Hoeve Den Dolder, where he kept a diary, publishing it as Het gesticht. Drie maanden Den Dolder in 2006, work that also had an influence upon his poetry collection De wereld bij avond (The World at Night).

      Over the years since, Wigman has continued to establish himself as a Dutch poet of reknown, publishling De droefenis van copyrettes. Keuze uit eigen werk, a selected poems, in 2009, and Mijn naam is Legioen (My Name is Legion) in 2012. Soon after the last publication he was appointed for two years as the City Poet of Amsterdam.

       Wigman edited Zoetermeer literary magazine, and was later connected with the magazines Ink!, Atwater, and Kinbote. In 2010 he published essays on poetry titled Ted ons van de dicters (Save Us from the Poets). He has also translated poems by Baudelaire, Thomas Bernhard, Else Lasker-Schüler, and Rilke, and prose by Leopold Andrian and Gérad de Nerval in Dutch.


Van zaad tot as (Santpoort, 1984); Two Poems (Santpoort: Mercator Press, 1985); ’s Zomers stinken alle steden (Amsterdam: Bakker, 1997); Zwart als kaviaar (Amsterdam: Bakker, 2001); Rust niet  (Santpoor: Mercator Press, 2002); Het licht is als het licht (Santpoort: Mercator Press, 2003); Dit is mijn dag: gedichten (Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2004); De wereld bij avond (Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2006); De droefenis van copyrettes (Santpoort: Mercator Press, 2006); Puer (Santpoort: Mercator Press, 2006); Medelijden met de lezer (Woold-’t Harkel: De Uitvreter, 2011); Mijn naam is Legioen (Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2012); De laatste pagina (Groningen: PS [Nick ter Wal], 2012)

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