Culture & Ideas Books and Music

Obituary: All doors open now for Dutch poet

13 July 2009
Presseurop
De Volkskrant

De Volkskrant, July 13, 2009.

The entire Dutch press is paying homage to “Homo Ludens” (“the playing man”), as Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog nicknamed himself. Vinkenoog, who passed away on 12 July at the age of 80, was an avant-garde poet, famous but poorly rewarded for his pains, and a noted adept of soft drugs. His 2004 appointment as ad interim Poet Laureate to replace the resigning incumbent was not recognised by the official organisers, and the “Anthology of Dutch Poetry” was long in giving his poetry its due.

De Volkskrant lauds the way in which he popularised poetry: “Vinkenoog was one of the first poets to declaim poetry to a wider audience. Back in 1960 he put out an LP of spoken word poetry. His dramatic delivery and stage presence were his fortes. He was known for his rousing renditions, improvising like a jazzman, twirling and twisting language to a point where he sometimes could not remember what he had said. He called that ‘lingual language’: an artistic manner of expressing oneself without reflecting or pre-selecting."