Nachoem M. Wijnberg - Selected Poems
According to Nachoem M. Wijnberg, one of the Netherlands’ preeminent living poets, it should be possible to say of a poem: it begins well, but by line seven it becomes a false claim. He also once said that a child of twelve could understand his poetry. He seeks clarity and validity. Were it not such a cliché, it might be tempting to say that a Wijnberg poem instantly captivates the reader but does not reveal itself readily.
Yet Wijnberg’s poems do make themselves explicit straight away, and it is only when they are reread that unexpected aspects emerge. One of the most profound questions raised in his oeuvre is: what is worthwhile? It is an issue that fragments into all kinds of other questions. Where to sleep? What to sing? What to buy? What should we spend time on? Where should we travel? How should we act? And so on.
Wijnberg has been writing at demonic speed for over twenty years, publishing fifteen books of poetry and four novels. His first collection, The Simulation of Creation (1989), was nominated for the most important award for debut volumes of poetry. He has won several other awards including the prestigious VSB Poetry Prize for his collection The Life Of (2008). Wijnberg is a professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Economics and Econometrics.
‘You are unlikely to assume his work to be by anyone else in the Netherlands or anyone else of his generation.’ – Vrij Nederland
‘What Wijnberg writes does genuinely hurt. For that reason alone he is a great poet.’ – De Volkskrant
‘Wijnberg is a unique author whose voice is always recognizable in extremely diverse collections. That is the characteristic feature of a significant poet.’ – De Groene Amsterdammer