Recently two friends of mine who write poetry had a presentation of their latest book. One in The Black Panter by Marleen De Crée: Tussen boog en snaar (Between bow and string) a grandiose overview of her work and the other one in the Hoboken town hall Frank De Vos: Naamvallen in het ontheemde. In order to translate the latter title well, I'll have to do some more thinking. Naamvallen are conjugations of nouns and literally it is "Namedropping". That is the first problem, the second is in het ontheemde: normally it is 'de' ontheemde: the homeless, the rootless, the uprooted, a displaced person also a drifter yet 'het' ontheemde is not a stupid grammatical mistake, but a beautiful metaphor for the strangeness of the world in which we live. Both poets have great musical knowledge and taste. So for Marleen we heard Floris De Rycker playing the Thiorbe (imagine a very long necked lute) and Frank surprised us with Bach and others on the accordion, the poor mans organ. Both musical delicacies I had never tasted. Marleen deserves this second volume of the Parnassus series for her assiduous unwavering writing, unimpressed as she is by fads or fashions: You find really modern sonnets, other strict forms and when you read they flow, are natural and they will grab you. Yes I love her work and beginning of January a bilingual book will come out called 'Sequenza', as in the way Berio did some of his compositions. She chose 5 poems from 7 volumes of poetry when she turned 70, a good overview for English speaking readers.
Frank's work has a mesmerizing rhythm, almost like a litany in church with in the first cycle a repetition of the words: I, we, us: the solitary poet striving for, finding 'the other' in his writing. I am very impressed by his anti war poetry. If you can read Dutch, just get both books.