Herman Gorter: Poems of 1890
Herman Gorter and translated by Paul Vincent MA, MTA FCIoL, Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Dutch, UCL
Commonly viewed as a revolutionary and propagandist Herman Gorter (1864–1927) is often overlooked despite his lasting contribution to Dutch poetry. This selection of thirty-one poems, translated by Paul Vincent, focuses on Gorter’s experimental love and nature lyrics in Poems of 1890, and the Introduction sets the poems in the context of his earlier seminal work 'Mei' (May) as well as his often neglected Socialist verse.
The lyrical expansiveness, consistent use of rhyme and vivid imagery of the Dutch landscape that characterises 'Mei' evolves into more fragmentary verse in Poems of 1890, and the joyful celebratory tone of Gorter’s poetry increasingly co-exists with a sense of isolation and introspection. This can be viewed in the context of a rapidly changing political scene in Europe in the prelude to the First World War and the Russian Revolution. This is a valuable collection that revisits Gorter’s literary and political legacy, and introduces English-speaking readers to a selection of his most accessible and lyrical poems.
Praise for Herman Gorter: Poems of 1890
Times Higher Education
Paul Vincent studied at Cambridge and Amsterdam, and after teaching Dutch at the University of London for over 20 years became a full-time translator in 1989. In 2011, having twice won the Reid Poetry Translation Prize, he was awarded the Vondel Dutch Translation Prize for his version of Louis Paul Boon’s My Little War. In 2015, he published an open access translation of a selection of Herman Gorter’s Poems of 1890, which was included in Times Higher Education's Books of the Year. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Dutch at UCL.
Times Higher Education
In his introduction, Paul Vincent notes that in May only fragments have been translated into English and then apparently reveals the loose wrist, his translation of the first twelve lines, as steep and sound as Gorter's text, and as beautiful as The 1890 poems in this bundle: 'A newborn springtime and a newborn sound ...' (p. 3). That tastes like more.
Format: Open Access PDF
Publication: October 01, 2015