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Mischa Andriessen
(Netherlands, 1970)   
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Mischa Andriessen

Mischa Andriessen (Apeldoorn 1970) turns his readers into scouts. In three collections, published between 2008 and 2016, he combines openness of interpretation with stylistic restraint to great effect. Andriessen prefers short, sketchy poems in clear language, sometimes bordering on the colloquial. But his communicative sentences are deceptive: the links between lines are often obscure or ambiguous, forcing readers of his poetry to tap into their own imaginations to plug the gaps.

This is why some critics have labelled Andriessen's work 'misleading', or in one case, 'an enormous question mark'. But you seldom look in vain for the leitmotif in his poetry. Andriessen sketches a world where nothing can be pinned down – hence openness of interpretation – except the destruction which keeps overtaking his characters. The poet poses the universal and existential question of how humans can stand their ground amid so much decay. Here he propagates the idea that we can construct a personal universe within the limitations of our finite and futile existence, enabling us - still - to elicit some meaning. 'It is our damned fate not to accept / that this is it', Andriessen writes in his debut Uitzien met D [Facing with D]. His work as a poet is a realisation of this ambition: Andriessen's poetry attempts to go beyond the one-dimensional nature of everyday life without denying the human angst of trying to cling to what is known.

'Every destination is a lie' is what Andriessen records in his collection Huisverraad [House treason]. His readers, too, can apply this creed: there is no ultimate route to the quintessence of his poems. You can tackle the special friendship in Uitzien met D starting from the gospel according to Matthew or track down the connection between Andriessen's Dwalmgasten [Vagrance] and Ovid's Metamorphoses; but all things considered, there will always be something which escapes your interpretive framework. This poetry is an outstanding celebration of the interaction between poet, reader and text.

© Jeroen Dera (Translated by Christiane Zwerner)

Uitzien met D, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2008
Huisverraad, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2012
Dwalmgasten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2016


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