Dolce far niente, Simon Vestdijk, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Jan Emmens


Dolce far niente


Prins Hendrikkade te Amsterdam door Willem Witsen, 1891



Gevoegd tot wallen steen, en krom verdronken,
Staan de kantoren in hun lang plantsoen.
Te lang, te smal... Op bruggeranden ronken
Tramwagens dwars door 't stoffig dubbelgroen.

Nog stroomt een rest van 't kruislingsch labyrinth
Waar men 't verleden moeizaam in kan halen
Als spook'ge achterstevens, vluchtend bint
Van schepen die de reeders lieten dwalen.

Maar in die duizeldun vertakte haven
Zijn zelfs de geesten zoo misteekend, dat
Het laatste toplicht, wezenloos hoogdravend,
Zweeft als een lichtreclame op de binnenstad.


Simon Vestdijk (17 oktober 1898 – 23 maart 1971)
Harlingen, Zuiderhaven. Simon Vestdijk werd in Harlingen geboren.

Lees meer...


Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Ted Hughes op dit blog.


Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days

She gives him his eyes, she found them
Among some rubble, among some beetles

He gives her her skin
He just seemed to pull it down out of the air and lay it over her
She weeps with fearfulness and astonishment

She has found his hands for him, and fitted them freshly at the wrists
They are amazed at themselves, they go feeling all over her

He has assembled her spine, he cleaned each piece carefully
And sets them in perfect order
A superhuman puzzle but he is inspired
She leans back twisting this way and that, using it and laughing

Now she has brought his feet, she is connecting them
So that his whole body lights up

And he has fashioned her new hips
With all fittings complete and with newly wound coils, all shiningly oiled
He is polishing every part, he himself can hardly believe it

They keep taking each other to the sun, they find they can easily
To test each new thing at each new step

And now she smoothes over him the plates of his skull
So that the joints are invisible

And now he connects her throat, her breasts and the pit of her stomach
With a single wire

She gives him his teeth, tying the the roots to the centrepin of his body

He sets the little circlets on her fingertips

She stiches his body here and there with steely purple silk

He oils the delicate cogs of her mouth

She inlays with deep cut scrolls the nape of his neck

He sinks into place the inside of her thighs

So, gasping with joy, with cries of wonderment
Like two gods of mud
Sprawling in the dirt, but with infinite care
They bring each other to perfection.


Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)
Ted Hughes en Sylvia Plath op hun huwelijksreis in 1956

Lees meer...


V. S. Naipaul, Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries


De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook alle tags voor V. S. Naipaul op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010.

Uit: Miguel Street

“Being a child, I never wondered how Bogart came by any money. I assumed that grown-ups had money as a matter of course. Popo had a wife who worked at a variety of jobs; and ended up by becoming the friend of many men. I could never think of Bogart as having mother or father; and he never brought a woman to his little room. This little room of his was called the servant-room but no servant to the people in the main house ever lived there. It was just an architectural convention.
It is still something of a miracle to me that Bogart managed to make friends. Yet he did make many friends; he was at one time quite the most popular man in the street. I used to see him squatting on the pavement with all the big men of the street. And while Hat or Edward or Eddoes was talking, Bogart would just look down and draw rings with his fingers on the pavement. He never laughed audibly. He never told a story. Yet whenever there was a fete or something like that, everybody would say, 'We must have Bogart. He smart like hell, that man.' In a way he gave them great solace and comfort, I suppose.
And so every morning, as I told you, Hat would shout, very loudly, 'What happening there, Bogart?'
And he would wait for the indeterminate grumble which was Bogart saying, 'What happening there, Hat?'
But one morning, when Hat shouted, there was no reply. Something which had appeared unalterable was missing.
Bogart had vanished; had left us without a word.
The men in the street were silent and sorrowful for two whole days. They assembled in Bogart's little room. Hat lifted up the deck of cards that lay on Bogart's table and dropped two or three cards at a time reflectively.
Hat said, 'You think he gone Venezuela?'
But no one knew. Bogart told them so little.
And the next morning Hat got up and lit a cigarette and went to his back verandah and was on the point of shouting, when he remembered. He milked the cows earlier than usual that morning, and the cows didn't like it.
A month passed; then another month. Bogart didn't return.”


V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)

Lees meer...


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De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook alle tags voor V. S. Naipaul op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010.

Uit: A Bend In the River

“At certain times in some civilizations great leaders can bring out the manhood in the people they lead.  It is different with slaves.  Don’t blame the leaders.  It is just part of the dreadfulness of the situation.  It is better to withdraw from the whole business, if you can.  And I could.  You may say -- and I know, Salim, that you have thought it -- that I have turned my back on my community and sold out.  I day: ‘Sold out to what and from what? What do you have to offer me? What is your own contribution?  And can you give me back my manhood?’ Anyway, that was what I decided that morning, beside the river of London, between the dolphins and the camels, the work of some dead artist who had been adding to the beauty of their city.
“That was five years ago.  I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t made that decision.  I suppose I would have sunk.  I suppose I would have found some kind of hole and tried to hide or pass.  After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.  I would have hidden in my hole and been crippled by my sentimentality, doing what I doing, and doing it well, but always looking for the wailing wall.  And I would never have seen the world as the rich place that it is.  You wouldn’t have seen me here in Africa , doing what I do.  I wouldn’t have wanted to do it, and no one would have wanted me to do it.  I would have said: ‘It’s all over for me, so why should I let myself be used by anybody? The Americans want to win the world.  It’s their fight, not mine.’ And that would have been stupid.  It is stupid to talk of the Americans.  They are not a tribe, as you might think from the outside.  They’re all individuals fighting to make their way, trying as hard as you or me not to sink.
“It wasn’t easy after I left the university.  I still had to get a job, and the only thing I knew now was what I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t want to exchange one prison for another.  People like me have to make their own jobs.  It isn’t something that’s going to come to you in a brown envelope. The job is there, waiting.  But it doesn’t exist for you or anyone else until you discover it, and you discover it because it’s for you and you alone.”


V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)

Lees meer...


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De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook alle tags voor Jonathan Franzen op dit blog.


Uit: Freedom


“The news about Walter Berglund wasn't picked up locally-he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now-but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in the nation's capital. His old neighbors had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times ("arrogant," "high-handed," "ethically compromised") with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedaling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.

Walter and Patty were the young pioneers of Ramsey Hill - the first college grads to buy a house on Barrier Street since the old heart of St. Paul had fallen on hard times three decades earlier. They paid nothing for their Victorian and then killed themselves for ten years renovating it. Early on, some very determined person torched their garage and twice broke into their car before they got the garage rebuilt.

Sunburned bikers descended on the vacant lot across the alley to drink Schlitz and grill knockwurst and rev engines at small hours until Patty went outside in sweatclothes and said, "Hey, you guys, you know what?" Patty frightened nobody, but she'd been a standout athlete in high school and college and possessed a jock sort of fearlessness. From her first day in the neighborhood, she was helplessly conspicuous. Tall, ponytailed, absurdly young, pushing a stroller past stripped cars and broken beer bottles and barfedupon old snow, she might have been carrying all the hours of her day in the string bags that hung from her stroller. Behind her you could see the baby-encumbered preparations for a morning of baby-encumbered errands; ahead of her, an afternoon of public radio, the Silver Palate Cookbook, cloth diapers, drywall compound, and latex paint; and then Goodnight Moon, then zinfandel. She was already fully the thing that was just starting to happen to the rest of the street.”




Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)

Time Cover, augustus 2010

Lees meer...


Jonathan Franzen, V. S. Naipaul, Herta Müller, Oliver St. John Gogarty


De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010.


Uit: The Corrections 


“Ringing throughout the house was an alarm bell that no one but Alfred and Enid could hear directly. It was the alarm bell of anxiety. It was like one of those big cast-iron dishes with an electric clapper that send schoolchildren into the street in fire drills. By now it had been ringing for so many hours that the Lamberts no longer heard the message of "bell ringing" but, as with any sound that continues for so long that you have the leisure to learn its component sounds (as with any word you stare at until it resolves itself into a string of dead letters), instead heard a clapper rapidly striking a metallic resonator, not a pure tone but a granular sequence of percussions with a keening overlay of overtones; ringing for so many days that it simply blended into the background except at certain early-morning hours when one or the other of them awoke in a sweat and realized that a bell had been ringing in their heads for so long as they could remember; ringing for so many months that the sound had given way to a kind of metasound whose rise and fall was not the beating of compression waves but the much, much slower waxing and waning of their consciousness of the sound. Which consciousness was particularly acute when the weather itself was in an anxious mood. Then Enid and Alfred -- she on her knees in the dining room opening drawers, he in the basement surveying the disastrous Ping-Pong table -- each felt near to exploding with anxiety.”




Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)

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Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 17e augustus mijn blog bij seniorennet.be


Jonathan Franzen, V. S. Naipaul, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin



Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 17e augustus ook bij seniorennet.be mijn vorige blog van vandaag 


Roger Peyrefitte, Nicola Kraus, Ted Hughes, Robert Sabatier 


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 17e augustus ook bij seniorennet.be mijn eerste blog van vandaag.



Anton Delvig,Theodor Däubler, Józef Wittlin, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Fredrika Bremer



Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, V. S. Naipaul, Roger Peyrefitte, Nicola Kraus

De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois.


Uit: How to Be Alone


“What goes for the Harper's essay goes for this collection as a whole. I intend this book, in part, as a record of a movement away from an angry and frightened isolation toward an acceptance-even a celebration-of being a reader and a writer. Not that there's not still plenty to be mad and scared about. Our national thirst for petroleum, which has already produced two Bush presidencies and an ugly Gulf War, is now threatening to lead us into an open-ended long-term conflict in Central Asia. Although you wouldn't have thought it possible, Americans seem to be asking even fewer questions about their government today than in 1991, and the major media sound even more monolithically jingoistic. While Congress yet again votes against applying easily achievable fuel-efficiency standards to SUVs, the president of Ford Motor Company can be seen patriotically defending these vehicles in a TV ad, avowing that Americans must never accept "boundaries of any kind."

With so much fresh outrageousness being manufactured daily, I've chosen to do only minimal tinkering with the other essays in this book. "First City" reads a little differently without the World Trade Center; "Imperial Bedroom" was written before John Ashcroft came to power with his seeming indifference to personal liberties; anthrax has lent further poignancy to the woes of the United States Postal Service, as described in "Lost in the Mail"; and Oprah Winfrey's disinvitation of me from her Book Club makes the descriptive word "elitist" fluoresce in the several essays where it appears. But the local particulars of content matter less to me than the underlying investigation in all these essays: the problem of preserving individuality and complexity in a noisy and distracting mass culture: the question of how to be alone.”





Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)






De Ethiopische dichter en schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo.





A lover love-rejected

With a spirit dejected,

A monk God-forsaken

hose total Faith is shaken,

Are less lost than dreamer

Into whose peace a “ question “

Plunged like a knife

And woke him to life,

To search, to find his way

To dodge, to fight his way

NOT dream it away !







On the grave of my friend, I stood.

For blood and flesh, I stayed . . .

And with faith I prayed, and prayed;

For blood and flesh, he was robed . . .

And with doubt, I hoped, and I hoped.

On the grave of my friend, as I stayed;

     … On my future, I brood .



I stood on the grave of a man.

A tomb-stone of a man, I burdened.

The grave of a man, I murdered:

And with hope, my future, I sketched,

When with prayer, my killer hand, I stretched.

On the tomb-stone, of the man, I murdered:

      . . . Urrahh!!! I won!


On my victim’s carcass, I climb.

While on his tomb, I tread …

My bloody fingers, I spread:

Thus to repent, to justify, I have tried …

While I hoped, and prayed, I have cried.

And I won, my daily wine, and bread!

       … Is it a crime?





Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)






De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.


Uit: A Bend In the River


“I awakened to where I was.  I was walking on the Embankment, beside the river, walking without seeing.  On the Embankment wall there are green metal lamp standards.  I had been examining the dolphins on the standards, dolphin by dolphin, standard by standard.  I was far from where I had started, and I had momentarily left the dolphins to examine the metal supports of the pavement benches.  These supports, as I saw with amazement, were in the shape of camels.  Camels and their sacks!  Strange city: the romance of India in that building. And the romance of the desert here.  I stopped, stepped back mentally, as it were, and all at once saw the beauty in which I had been walking -- the beauty of the river and the sky, the soft colours of the clouds, the beauty of light on water, the beauty of the buildings, the care with which it had all been arranged.

“In Africa, on the coast, I had paid attention only to one colour in nature - the colour of the sea.  Everything else was just bush, green and living. Or brown and dead.  In England so far I had walked with my eyes at shop level; I had seen nothing.  A town, even London, was just a series of streets or street names, and a street was a row of shops.  Now I saw differently.  And I understood that London wasn’t simply a place that was there, as people say of mountains, but that it had been made by men, that men had given attention to details as minute as those camels.

“I began to understand at the same time that my anguish about being a man adrift was false, that for me that dream of home and security was nothing more than a dream of isolation, anachronistic and stupid and very feeble.  I belonged to myself alone.  I was going to surrender my manhood to nobody.  For someone like me there was only one civilization and one place -- London, or a place like it.  Every other kind of life was make-believe.  Home -- what for?  To hide?  To bow to our great men?  For people in our situation, people led into slavery, that is the biggest trap of all.  We have nothing.  We solace ourselves with that idea of the great men of our tribe, the Gandhi and the Nehru, and we castrate ourselves. ‘Here take my manhood and invest it for me.  Take my manhood and be a greater man yourself, for my sake!’  No!  I want to be a man myself.”






V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)






De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres.


Uit: Les Amitiés particulières







Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)





Zie voor alle bovenstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008.





De Amerikaanse schrijfster Nicola Kraus werd geboren op 17 augustus 1974 in New York. Zij studeerde af aan de University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Aan de New York University ontmoette zij Emma McLaughlin. Allebei werkten zij als kinderoppas. Hun eerste boek The Nanny Diaries behaalde de eerste plaats op de New York Times Best Seller list in 2002. Een filmversie verscheen in 2007. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 februari 2009.


Uit: The Nanny Diaries


“The walnut-paneled car slowly pulls me up, like a bucket in a well, toward potential solvency. As I near the appointed floor I take a deep breath; the door slides open onto a small vestibule which is the portal to, at most, two apartments. I press the doorbell.
Nanny Fact: she always waits for me to ring the doorbell, even though she was buzzed by maximum security downstairs to warn of my imminent arrival and is probably standing on the other side of the door. May, in fact, have been standing there since we spoke on the telephone three days ago.
The dark vestibule, wallpapered in some gloomy Colefax and Fowler floral, always contains a brass umbrella stand, a horse print, and a mirror, wherein I do one last swift check of my appearance. I seem to have grown stains on my skirt during the train ride from school, but otherwise I'm pulled together--twin set, floral skirt, and some Gucci-knockoff sandals I bought in the Village. She is always tiny. Her hair is always straight and thin; she always seems to be inhaling and never exhaling. She is always wearing expensive khaki pants, Chanel ballet flats, a French striped Tshirt, and a white cardigan. Possibly some discreet pearls. In seven years and umpteen interviews the I'm-momcasual-in-my-khakis-but-intimidating-in-my-$400-shoes outfit never changes. And it is simply impossible to imagine her doing anything so undignified as what was required to get her pregnant in the first place.”





Nicola Kraus (New York, 17 augustus 1974)

Nicola Kraus (l) en Emma McLaughlin (r)



Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 17e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.



Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, V. S. Naipaul, Ted Hughes, Anton Delvig, Robert Sabatier, Herta Müller

De Amerikaanse schrijver Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Discomfort Zone


Our friend Kirby, it turned out, had charmed the owner of the Florida house, and the beer keg was fully operational, and so our last week of living like rich people unfolded amicably. I spent morbid, delicious amounts of time by myself, driven by the sort of hormonal instinct that I imagine leads cats to eat grass. The half-finished high-rises to our east were poised to engulf our idyll, even if we'd wanted to come back another year, but the transformation of a quiet, sandpiper-friendly beach into a high-density population center was such a novelty for us that we didn't even have a category for the loss it represented. I studied the skeletal towers the way I studied bad weather.

At the end of the week, my parents and I drove deeper into Florida, so that I could be taken to Disney World. My father was big on fairness, and because my brothers had once spent a day at Disneyland, many years earlier, it was unthinkable that I not be given the equivalent treat of a day at Disney World, whether or not I was too old for it, and whether or not I wanted to be there. I might not have minded going with my friend Manley, or with my not-girlfriend Hoener, and mocking and subverting the place and allowing myself to like it that way. But mocking and subverting in the presence of my parents was out of the question.





Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)







De Ethiopische schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Literature and the African Public


But as to why these trees of African languages were not, so fur, given enough chance to bear fruit, demands of us, to face certain rigid factors of history and politics.

What was Africa considered to be before the colonial days? The Westerners had mostly to rely on what their travelers, their ivory hunters and slave traders reported to them, followed by the information from their missionaries and finally through the suppressed echoes of the whip of their colonial administrators. As such, the first introduction of the black man in the concept of the Western, was in the image of a humiliated humanity. The slander to his dignity, to his way of life, to his values, which so incessantly recur as a matter of fact across the "civilized" world today, drew breath, then. Although his social systems were almost, destroyed although condemned to grapple with these world wide historic and current realities which negate his values, yet, it is still not by his capacity as an individual, not by his success or failure as a member of a group reflection, but the color of his skin and his physical characteristics appeared to be the core of the element by which the Western master judged him. He is put on trial by his very appearance and played the underdog of his country's class structures.


Out of these and against these, the African was taught to protest in his master's ways, in his master's values, in his master's language. Yet Africa was never mute in her own heritage of self expressions before or after the colonial days. The problem is how to record her abundant oral literatures in her own languages and preserve them for her children, how to record the very social traditions both in their similar and contradicting shades and evolve them in a harmony of oneness through the taste of time and the criteria of their own humane level, since any language should be given a chance to develop its potential of literature.”





Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)







De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Les Amitiés particulières



Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)






De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Enigma of Arrival


To see the possibility, the certainty, of ruin, even at the moment of creation: it was my temperament. Those nerves had been given me as a child in Trinidad partly by our family circumstances: the half-ruined or broken-down houses we lived in, our many moves, our general uncertainty. Possibly, too, this mode of feeling went deeper, and was an ancestral inheritance, something that came with the history that had made me: not only India, with its ideas of a world outside men's control, but also the colonial plantations or estates of Trinidad, to which my impoverished Indian ancestors had been transported in the last century – estates of which this Wiltshire estate, where I now lived, had been the apotheosis.
     Fifty years ago there would have been no room for me on the estate; even now my presence was a little unlikely. But more than accident had brought me here. Or rather, in the series of accidents that had brought me to the manor cottage, with a view of the restored church, there was a clear historical line. The migration, within the British Empire, from India to Trinidad had given me the English language as my own, and a particular kind of education. This had partly seeded my wish to be a writer in a particular mode, and had committed me to the literary career I had been following in England for twenty years.
     The history I carried with me, together with the self-awareness that had come with my education and ambition, had sent me into the world with a sense of glory dead; and in England had given me the rawest stranger's nerves. Now ironically – or aptly – living in the grounds of this shrunken estate, going out for my walks, those nerves were soothed, and in the wild garden and orchard beside the water meadows I found a physical beauty perfectly suited to my temperament and answering, besides, every good idea I could have had, as a child in Trinidad, of the physical aspect of England.”




V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)






De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.



He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment's brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin's attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon's gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other's face






Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)






De Russische dichter Anton Delvig werd geboren op 17 augustus 1798 in Moskou. Hij studeerde samen met Aleksandr Poesjkin aan het lyceum Zarskoje Selo en raakte met hem bevriend. Samen gaven ze de Literaturnaya Gazeta uit (1830-1831). Delvig stond in de traditie van het Russische neoclassicisme.



Russisches Lied


Sang wohl, sang das Vögelein,
Und verstummte.
Ward dem Herzen Freude kund,
Und Vergessen.


Vöglein, das so gerne singt,
Warum schweigt es?
Herz, was ist mit dir geschehn,
Daß du traurig?


Ach, das Vöglein tötete
Rauher Schneesturm,
Und das Herz des Burschen brach
Böses Reden.


Wär' das Vöglein gern geflogen
Fort zum Meere,
Wär' der Bursche gern entflohen
In die Wälder.


In dem Meere treibt die Flut,
Doch kein Schneesturm -
Wilde Tiere birgt der Wald,
Doch nicht Menschen.






Vertaald door Friedrich Bodenstedt






Der Dichter


Lang verbirgt er im Herzen die tiefen Gefühl' und Gedanken:
Scheint mit den Menschen, mit uns, nicht sie zu teilen bereit!
Selten nur so - nach demWillen des Himmels? - beginnt er zu singen,
Götter! dann bringt uns sein Lied Leben und Liebe und Glück,
Ganz wie in uraltem Wein, dem teuren Gaste kredenzet,
Schmeicheln den Sinnen zugleich: Farbe und Duft und





Vertaald door Rolf-Dietrich Keil





Anton Delvig (17 augustus 1798 – 26 januari 1831)






De Franse dichter en schrijver Robert Sabatier werd geboren op 17 augustus 1923 in Parijs. Sinds 1971 is hij lid van de l'Académie Goncourt. Hij schrijft gedichten die de invloed verraden van het surrealisme. In zijn proza draait het vaak om outsiders Sabatier schreef eveneens een Histoire de la Poésie française.






Adieu mon livre, adieu ma page écrite,
Se détachant de moi comme une feuille,
Me laissant nu comme un cliché d'automne.


Je vous dédie une arche de parole
Pour naviguer, mes amis, naviguer
Dans ma mémoire où se taisent les loups.


Vole ma feuille au-dessus de la ville,
Franchis le fleuve et détruis la frontière.
Amour, amour, ô ma géographie!


Et si tu cours au fil de l’onde, un songe
Recueillera mes images mouillées
Que dans un pré le soleil séchera.


Poète ici, poète comme un arbre
Offrant sa feuille à la terre gourmande
Et dans l’humus herbe ressuscitant.


Un autre livre, une parole neuve,
Les mêmes mots dans d’autres mariages
Et toujours l’homme et son tapis volant.






Robert Sabatier (Parijs, 17 augustus 1923)








De Duitse schrijfster Herta Müller werd geboren op 17 augustus 1953 in Nitzkydorf, Roemenië. Zij studeerde germanistiek en Roemeense literatuur aan de universiteit van het westen in Timişoara. Vanaf 1976 werkte zij als vertaalster in een machinefabriek, maar toen ze in 1979 niet wilde samenwerken met de Securitate werd zij ontslagen. Zij werkte tijdelijk als docente en privélerares. In 1982 kon haar eerste roman slechts in een gecensureerde versie verschijnen. In 1987 emigreerde zij met haar man naar de BRD. Ze kreeg in de volgende jaren verschillende leeropdrachten als writer in residence.


Uit: Der König verneigt sich und tötet


In der Dorfsprache – so schien es mir als Kind – lagen bei allen Leuten um mich herum die Worte direkt auf den Dingen, die sie bezeichneten. Die Dinge hießen genauso, wie sie waren, und sie waren genauso, wie sie hießen. Ein für immer geschlossenes Einverständnis. Es gab für die meisten Leute keine Lücken, durch die man zwischen Wort und Gegenstand hindurch schauen und ins Nichts starren mußte, als rutsche man aus seiner Haut ins Leere. Die alltäglichen Handgriffe waren instinktiv, wortlos eingeübte Arbeit, der Kopf ging den Weg der Handgriffe nicht mit und hatte auch nicht seine eigenen, abweichenden Wege. Der Kopf war da, um die Augen und Ohren zu tragen, die man beim Arbeiten brauchte. Die Redewendung: »Der hat seinen Kopf auf den Schultern, damit es ihm nicht in den Hals regnet,« dieser Spruch konnte auf den Alltag aller angewendet werden. Oder doch nicht? Warum riet meine Großmutter meiner Mutter, wenn es Winter und draußen nichts zu tun, wenn mein Vater ohne Unterlaß Tage hintereinander sturzbesoffen war: »Wenn du meinst, daß du nicht durchhältst, dann räum den Schrank auf.« Den Kopf still stellen durchs Hin- und Herräumen von Wäsche. Die Mutter sollte ihre Blusen und seine Hemden, ihre Strümpfe und seine Socken, ihre Röcke und seine Hosen neu falten und stapeln oder nebeneinander hängen. Frisch beieinander sollten die Kleider der Beiden verhindern, daß er sich aus dieser Ehe heraus säuft.”





Herta Müller (Nitzkydorf, 17 augustus 1953)





Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, V. S. Naipaul

Voor meer schrijfsters en schrijvers kunt u nog steeds terecht op mijn alternatieve blog adres en hiernaast bij Romenu II.

De Amerikaanse schrijver Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Hij groeide op in St. Louis en studeerde in het begin van de jaren tachtig in Berlijn. In 1988 verscheen zijn debuutroman The Twenty-Seventh City. In 1992 volgde Strong Motion en in 2001 kreeg hij voor zijn derde boek The Corrections de National Book Award. In 2002 verscheen de bundel essays How to be alone. 

Uit: The Corrections 

„The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through. You could feel it: something terrible was going to happen. The sun low in the sky, a minor light, a cooling star. Gust after gust of disorder. Trees restless, temperatures falling, the whole northern religion of things coming to an end. No children in the yards here. Shadows lengthened on yellowing zoysia. Red oaks and pin oaks and swamp white oaks rained acorns on houses with no mortgage. Storm windows shuddered in the empty bedrooms. And the drone and hiccup of a clothes dryer, the nasal contention of a leaf blower, the ripening of local apples in a paper bag, the smell of the gasoline with which Alfred Lambert had cleaned the paintbrush from his morning painting of the wicker love seat.Three in the afternoon was a time of danger in these gerontocratic suburbs of St. Jude. Alfred had awakened in the great blue chair in which he'd been sleeping since lunch. He'd had his nap and there would be no local news until five o'clock. Two empty hours were a sinus in which infections, bred. He struggled to his feet and stood by the Ping-Pong table, listening in vain for Enid.”   

Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Ethiopische schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Hij studeerde experimenteel theater in Londen en Parijs. Van 1961 tot 1971 was hij directeur van het Ethiopische Nationale Theater. Hij schreef gedichten, toneelstukken en essays. Zijn moedertaal was het Afaan Oromo, maar hij schreef in het Amhaars. Zijn landgenoten vergeleken hem met Shakespeare. Van hem vertaalde Gabre-Medhin ook werk, evenals van Brecht en Molière.  

Prologue to African Conscience

Tamed to bend
Into the model chairs
Carpentered for it
By the friendly pharos of its time
The black conscience flutters
Yet is taken in.

it looks right
It looks left
It forgets to look into its own self:
The broken yoke threatens to return
Only, this time
In the luring shape
Of luxury and golden chains
That frees the body
And enslaves the mind.

Into its head
The old dragon sun
Now breathes hot civilization
And the wise brains
Of the strong sons of the tribes
With an even more strange suffocation.

Its new self awareness
(In spite of its tribal ills)
Wishes to patch
its torn spirits together:
Its past and present masters
(With their army of ghosts
That remained to haunt the earth)
Hook its innermost soul
And tear it apart:
And the african conscience
Still moans molested
Still remains drifting uprooted.

Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)


De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Na zijn afstuderen ving hij een diplomatieke carrière aan als ambassadesecretaris in Athene van 1933 tot 1938. Zijn openbaar homoseksueel gedrag werd een tijdje gedoogd tot hij gedwongen werd ontslag te nemen om ‘familiale redenen’. Terug op de Quai d’Orsay, het hoofdkwartier van de Franse diplomaten, gaf hij na enige tijd ontslag ‘om persoonlijke redenen’, maar werd in volle oorlogstijd in 1943 gereïntegreerd in de “carrière”. In februari 1945 zag hij zich verplicht, nu om politieke redenen, zich volledig uit de diplomatieke wereld terug te trekken. Ondertussen was hij een literaire loopbaan begonnen met de publicatie van de ‘Amitiés’, dat een overweldigend succes kende en meteen bekroond werd met de Renaudot-prijs. In 1964 werd het boek ‘Les Amitiés particuliéres’ verfilmd.                                    

Uit: Roy 

« En un tournemain, il ôta sa robe de chambre pour se présenter sans voiles dans toute sa gloire. Puis, avec délices, il défit la ceinture de Bob, lui enleva le T-shirt de la strict éducation, son slip, son short, le contempla nu, avec ses chaussettes, ses baskets et son sexe, aussi raide que le sien. C’est Roy qui agissait avec l’autorité de l’acte final qu’il s’apprêtait à accomplir. Un de ses doigts gagna l’orifice dans lequel Jim avait joui ici, l’automne dernier. Bob, à son tour, le caressait au même endroit. « Ah ! ce cul toujours sans poils », dit-il. Roy continuait à tâter la place, si tendrement velue, qui avait encore la moiteur de la course. »   

Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)



De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.

  Uit: Half a Life 

“Roger said one day, "My editor is coming to London soon. You know I do him a weekly letter about books and plays. I also drop the odd word about cultural personalities. He pays me ten pounds a week. I suppose he's coming to check on me. He says he wants to meet my friends. I've promised him an intellectual London dinner party, and you must come, Willie. It will be the first party in the Marble Arch house. I'll present you as a literary star to be. In Proust there's a social figure called Swann. He likes sometimes for his own pleasure to bring together dissimilar people, to create a social nosegay, as he says. I am hoping to do something like that for the editor. There'll be a Negro I met in West Africa when I did my National Service. He is the son of a West Indian who went to live in West Africa as part of the Back to Africa movement. His name is Marcus, after the black crook who founded the movement. You'll like him. He's very charming, very urbane. He is dedicated to inter-racial sex and is quite insatiable. When we first met in West Africa his talk was almost all about sex. To keep my end up I said that African women were attractive. He said, 'If you like the animal thing.' He is now training to be a diplomat for when his country becomes independent, and to him London is paradise. He has two ambitions. The first is to have a grandchild who will be pure white in appearance. He is half-way there. He has five mulatto children, by five white women, and he feels that all he has to do now is to keep an eye on the children and make sure they don't let him down. He wants when he is old to walk down the King's Road with this white grand child. People will stare and the child will say, loudly, 'What are they staring at, Grandfather?' His second ambition is to be the first black man to have an account at Coutts. That's the Queen's bank."    

V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)