Selected Poems (Transl. Lloyd Haft) by Herman Gorter
This is the most extensive selection in English of poems by one of the all time great Dutch poets, Herman Gorter (1864-1927). A companion volume to M. Kruijff’s translation of the epic May, this book welcomes the reader to the rich spectrum of Gorter’s lyric verse. The selection traces the stages of Gorter’s career as a poet. It opens with twenty-two poems from his introvertive ‘sensitivist’ Verses (Verzen, 1890) which have been called the beginning of modern Dutch poetry. These are followed by poems from later collections in which Gorter was transitioning to a less self- and more world-focused perspective. In the subsequent passages from the long epic Pan (1912/1916), he has clearly become a ‘socialist’ poet, albeit in a unique visionary sense. He is now pursuing a theme which will obsess him for the rest of his life: how to address the object of his love as both an individual woman and an incarnate summation of all humanity. The rest of the book comprises the first publication in English of Gorter’s little-known last work Lyrics (Liedjes, 1930). Haft’s judicious abridgment preserves the structure, erotic themes, and lyric high points of this outstanding sequence which originally occupied three volumes.
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