Tears in the Fence

Dutch poetry is not that well known outside of the Netherlands. This selection of Dutch poems written between the eleventh century and 2013 is a useful introduction to the themes and issues that inspired Dutch poets over a millennium. It has a similar scope to the Kaleidoscope anthology, edited by Martijn Zwart and Ethel Grene, in 1998. Here the original Dutch text and English translations, by the editors, are presented side by side. No one poet has more than a single poem. The editors, both educated in Modern Languages at Cambridge in the early Sixties, provide a detailed note outlining their predilection based on their reading and teaching. They have attempted to produce a notional canon of ‘important’ works with a series of informing balances between earlier and later, male and female, North and South. They commendably have included a good number of female poets as well as a chronological…

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