An urban setting. A bike ride.
Someone drives off a pontoon into the river, drowns.
You talk to him about what you saw,
was it an accident?
You talk about the ease of the word fate.
You talk about the situation at home, the love for a man,
the send-off that was prepared notwithstanding stock, i.e.: money, kid and goods.
You can already remember tomorrow’s photograph in the ‘Harbour News’,
saturated, enlarged beyond recognition.
You ask your son what he makes of it,
is it male or female, he asks, a bin bag,
a small bathtub, a Lilo, a shop-window dummy
he thinks it could be an awful lot, but what is it, he wants to know.
You cherish the intimacy
You point at what looks like a steering wheel, fingers, wrist, rope.
You talk about how death can take you by surprise.
You talk about your son’s messiness,
now he’s gone and lost his watch,
on Thursday it was his leather jacket,
as if you don’t care about material things, you say.
He smiles, strokes your cheek,
offering scope for a religious perspective.
You speak about the desire for subjugation.
You want a ride without a driver, fully automatic.
You say you’re not sure who’s actually pulling the strings.
You raise the issue of nonstop smoking,
that you’re just making it up as you go along, that you wish it’d end differently.
A successful attempt requires a certain level of expertise, you say
the willingness to go far
@Anne Vegter, Island mountain glacier, 2022/ Translation Astrid Alben, 2022
Anne Vegter is a versatile poet and writer. In 1989 she made her debut with the children’s book The Lady and the Rhinoceros, which was promptly awarded the Woutertje Pieterse Prize, the important prize for new Dutch literature for children. Her first poetry collection, It Sprang (1991), showed that a poet of stature had risen. Several more children’s books and poetry collections followed, as well as a collection of erotic stories and several theatreplays. In every genre the fact that she is first and foremost a poet glimmers through. In 2013 she was appointed Poet Laureate for the Netherlands. Anne Vegter writes whimsical poetry that has often been called surrealistic and dreamlike, disturbing and puzzling in equal measure. All of these qualifications are made in a positive sense, however. Some critics find the mystery and unpredictability of Vegter’s poetry too much, but most praise the sense of adventure and surprise that accompany it. Her complete works were awarded the Anne Blamanprize. Her latest collection is called Big Data (2019), which was awarded the Ida Gerhardt Prize in 2022. Her work has been translated into German, French, Spanish, Chinese and Turkish. In 2020 a collection of her poems appeared in English and was instantly awarded the English PEN-Award 2022, translation (Island Mountain Glacier, translation Astrid Alben, Prototype Press). Since 2021, she is the City-Poet of Rotterdam.
"Her writing is mercurial and often difficult to get a hold of. But there’s an art to her volatility that makes Island mountain glacier incredibly exciting to read.” (Modern poetry in translation)
"‘Tumultuous work, in which the chaos can scarcely be tamed and much is possible that would not work in more concentrated poetry. Vegter’s later books make it evident that the poetic principle of free and idiosyncratic use of language forms the basis of everything she writes.” (Daily magazine,Trouw)