Arno Van Vlierberghe makes an impressive entrée into the poetry scene in the Low Countries with his first collection Vloekschrift, nominated for the C. Buddingh’-prize for the best debut volume of verse. His texts – which he himself prefers to label as ‘zones’ – formally contain quite a lot of the ingredients of so-called postmodern poetry: they move in all directions, they do not believe in the unity of the subject and they place themselves knowingly in textual traditions which they acknowledge and yet at the same time distance themselves from.
I wish I had something hopeful to say, something useful. The predictable consolation I feel as member of a powerful set-up, worn like lubricated livery, a flag for parading, ragged but acceptable. Impatient capital, wait for me! I'll be your sentry. There will never be a better now! To ra-di-ca-lise! What is The Situation? No one's left, no one's left and I'm alone, I'm alone now.
[Tr. Jonathan William Beaton]
THE SITUATION 2
The power of Vloekschrift can be found in the urgency the poet displays on every page of the collection. Such urgency is not only prominent in the socio-economical critique of society to be found in many of his poems, it is also highly noticeable in the way the poet refuses to relativize his poetical praxis.
Arno Van Vlierberghe regularly strikes a pose and is self-conscious about doing so. In Vloekschrift a hyper-conscious, depersonalized and critical voice takes the stage and constantly comments on itself; nothing is experienced without being accompanied by disturbing noise. The poet places a question mark behind a radical longing for radicality. His relativizing strategies force the reader to think about how an 'authentic voice' is rhetorically constructed.
The poet lives and works in Ghent. His work has been published here and there, offline and online. Vloekschrift is his debut collection.