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Dirk van Bastelaere (poet) - Belgium - Poetry International
 
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Dirk van Bastelaere
(Belgium, 1960)   
 
 
 
Dirk van  Bastelaere

Dirk van Bastelaere debuted with the collection of verses, Vijf jaar (Five Years, 1984), for which he was awarded the prize for the best debut. The poems are on the theme of the fragmentation of the ego faced with the chaos of the outside world. In 1988, Pornschlegel en andere gedichten (Pornschlegel and other poems) was published, one of the most controversial collections of the past twenty years. Partly thanks to this volume, van Bastelaere is seen as the major representative of postmodernism in Flemish poetry.

Van Bastelaere has an extraordinary eye for form, structure and language and is strongly influenced by American poets such as Gertrude Stein and John Ashbery. His work is striking in its polysemic, complex character, full of references to paintings, pop songs, films and literature. For the same reason, his opponents label his work as hermetic and intellectualistic. Nonetheless, his writing has a large number of followers among young Flemish poets. 2000 saw the publication of Hartswedervaren (Affairs of the Heart), generally acknowledged as his best and richest work to date. This collection, which won the Flemish Culture Prize, is devoted to the theme of the heart in all its guises. In addition to poetry, Van Bastelaere also writes essays, continuing in the vein of the post-structuralist thinking of Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes and Julia Kristeva. The polemic character of his essays makes him one of the most socially committed poets in Flanders. In 2005 appears The last to leave, a monographic collection in English translation. One year later, he published the volume Voorbode van iets groots (Forerunner of something big). In 2008 Van Bastelaere caused a lot of controversy in the Flemish poetry scene with Hotel New Flanders, a bulky anthology of 60 years of Flemish poetry that he compiled together with Erwin Jans and Patrick Peeters.

© Tom Van de Voorde

Selective bibliography
Poetry

Vijf jaar (Five Years), Soethoudt, Antwerpen, 1984
Pornschlegel en andere gedichten (Pornschlegel and other poems), De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam, 1988
Diep in Amerika (Deep in America), Atlas, Amsterdam, 1994
Hartswedervaren (Affairs of the Heart), Atlas, Amsterdam, 2000
Voorbode van iets groots (Forerunner of something big) Atlas, Amsterdam, 2006

Essays
Wwwhhooosshhh, Van Tilt, Nijmegen, 2001

Translations
English
The last to leave (English), Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2005
Selection of poems, in The Literary Review (vol. 40, Nr. 3, 1994)
Selection of poems, in Modern Poetry in Translation Oxford, 1997
Selection of poems, in When the Time Comes: A Selection of Contemporary Belgian Prose Poetry, Quale Press, Florence, 2001

French
Selection of poems, in Littérature en Flandre, Le Castor Astral, Paris, 2003
Selection of poems, in La Nouvelle Revue Française (Nr. 565, April 2003)
Selection of poems, in Action Poétique (Nr. 156, Spring 2006)

German
Selection of poems, in Nordsüd gegenwartslyrik aus Flandern, Poeziecentrum / P.E.N. VLaanderen, Ghent, 1993
Selection of poems, in Schreibheft (nr. 59 and nr. 62) 
Selection of poems, in Keine triste Isolde, Gegenwartslyrik aus Flandern und den Niederlanden, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen, 2007

Literary Prizes

Prize for the best poetry debute (1985)
Hugues C. Pernath prize (1988)
Provincial Prize for Literature East-Flanders (1997)
Literature prize of Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (2000)
Flemish Culture Prize for Poetry (2001)
VSB poetry prize (nomination, 2002)
Jan Campert Prize (2007)

Links
The works of Dirk van Bastelaere are published by Atlas Publishers (In Dutch)

A video documentary about Dirk van Bastelaere (In Dutch)

Dirk van Bastelaere on Lyrikline (In English)

The English publisher of Dirk van Bastelaere  Shearsmans Books (In English)

 




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