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Living space: Reviews and Comments

Living Space is one of the most exciting anthologies that I have ever read. It is full of compelling, funny, unsettling, challenging and formally innovative poems that should deeply impress English readers, though for the Dutch this provocative writing indeed springs from over a half-century ago. De Vijftigersbeweging—‘the Fiftiers’ Movement’—was made up of Dutchmen and Flemish-writing Belgians who were born just after the First World War or in the 1920s and who burst onto the literary scene after the Second World War, that is, during ‘the grand spree of / Liberation’ when, in the words of Remco Campert (b. 1929), ‘water turned to whisky’ and ‘Everybody boozed and fucked, / all Europe was one big mattress / and the sky the ceiling / of a third-rate hotel.’

“This describes some of the ambience —rowdy, Brueghelesque, inebriating both physically and intellectually—in which the poets featured in Living Space came of age….”

—John Taylor, The Antioch Review

“This excellent anthology of seven major poets of the Dutch “Fiftiers” movement is, surprisingly the first substantial translation available in English….the ten translators cohere well for an overall tone and cadence—a remarkable feat for poetry so dense and idiomatic….this anthology belongs in serious poetry collections.”

—Michael Williamson, Library Journal

“…the originality and inventiveness in this volume makes Living Space a worthwhile collection….This is one of the few translations of modern Dutch work, which deserves attention in the English-speaking world.”

—Linda Falkenstein, WORT-FM (Madison, WI)

“Like all poetry which strikes from the beaten path, this poetry is undertaken with a spirit of experimentation. There is a great deal of syntactical innovation and many liberties taken with grammar. However, this experimentation does not wreck the sensibilities nor hide the basic abilities of the poets. Their poetry is down-to-earth, direct. And it has to do not with their aspirations to be different but with all of our lives.”

—Henry Berry, The Small Pond