Toon Tellegen, famous writer of children’s books and poet, resumes his playful examination of abstractions and ideas with De werkelijkheid (The reality). According to this year’s jury report, Tellegen’s latest addition to his extensive list of works is a terrific example of his characteristic style: ‘A text by Toon Tellegen is immensely recognizable. Which does not mean that it is easy to point at the aspects that distinguish such a text. Melancholy, surprise, mild absurdity, an unexpected perspective, the reversal of things; it can all be found in these poems’.
Tellegen examines what we take for granted: ‘Reality appears to be paper thin, just a story that we tell ourselves and others and accept as a real thing. With seemingly simple linguistic tools he manages to create an absurd, threatening or desperate world from which we cannot withdraw ourselves. The subjects of this book may be quite diverse, but the obsessive quest for true reality grants these poems a strong thematic cohesion’.
The jury further observes that this volume brings Tellegen to a new station in his poetic journey, and concludes: ‘Reality appears only to work on itself and shows a grand indifference toward us people. We can stay ahead of reality because of the insight in the limbo that is offered to us through Toon Tellegen’s poetry’.
‘God in a dress’, ‘Weather forecast’ and ‘A friend’ are available here in English translation by Judith Wilkinson.