In Leger, her poetry debut, Mieke van Zonneveld examines various aspects of the vulnerability of existence. In rather unrelenting poems she describes the physical vulnerability that reveals itself in a serious illness, in this case acute promyelocytic leukemia, the disease she was affected by herself. And physical vulnerability also reveals a mental or spiritual vulnerability to desire, silent love, doubt and unanswered questions. Van Zonneveld navigates among different poetics. In the poems in where disease plays a prominent role, her tone is factual. In other poems she chooses a more contemplative, somewhat mystical and, due to Christian connotations, also classical formulation. God is inevitably present in most poems and for the speaker (the I) in this respect, God is a hold on, a road to love (echoes of the Song of Songs), as well as a presence that nourishes doubt: doubt of the meaning of one's own life, our relationship to fate or a destiny presented to the I.
For Van Zonneveld, musicality is an important aspect of poetry. A strong rhythm, a sense of sound and an unemphatic but at the same time quite prominent use of rhyme illustrate this. Her use of sound in combination with her themes, language which is contemporary and at the same time references the Bible, and the fact that Van Zonneveld does not shy away from complexity and ambiguity, makes Leger a special collection and Van Zonneveld an intriguing and original poet.
Leger. De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2017