Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Minimal poetry

I would never have known the poems of F. van Dixhoorn if the library had not put them in their poetry exhibit.   Weird titles like Two little beeps and Then at the maritime academy. Enigmatic minimal text and huge areas of white space:

however carefully done
on the other hand, the risk


1. in moonlight
2. unnecessary redundant
3. a long season

2. usually ending
with the purchase
of a red vase

naturally cheerful

3. zinc
corrugated steel

In less able hands this would be a cheap trick. But these poems have been assembled like artful clockworks and they are thrilling. Some comments by critics:
  • The poems are like the fragments of a vase. We only have the fragments, but we are able to reconstruct an approximate shape of the original object.
  • We have been conditioned to use language according to fixed patterns and structures. The poet tries to de-construct, reconstruct and reassemble language. Force the brain to leave the accustomed linguistic paths and explore unknown terrain.
The last comment is fascinating. It seems to work with language. Could it also work in physical urban space?

Could a method of movement, observation and interpretation be devised that has the same thrilling effect? A real-time conspiracy theory assembled from random fragments of urban space?

F. van Dixhoorn - Twee piepjes - De bezige bij - 2007
F. van Dixhoorn - Dan op de zeevaartschool - De bezige bij - 2003
Information about the poet and some translated poems - in English
Some translated poems - in English
Some translated poems - in English
Audio and video - in Dutch
An attempt at interpretation - in Dutch
Photograph of the poet

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