Ruth Lasters
(Belgium, 1979)   
Ruth Lasters

In her neatly constructed poems, Ruth Lasters delights in presenting ideas as business plans. In sober, objective terms she invites the reader to share her fresh and absurd view of the world. Why shouldn’t you stack apples under someone’s skin and take the occasional tiny bite from one of them? Lasters asks us to intuit and assume things, as if she were drawing a model with her thoughts, a blueprint of her idiosyncratic vision of the world.

“Wash me”, a woman’s mouth asks in a bath full of red/white/red radishes. Lasters’ world is certainly surreal, but is more playfully absurdist than part of some heavily charged tradition. All her images have a strange, hard plasticity: tables lie on their backs like horses, a book in wrapping paper is tied up with hair from the bath. Those tautly executed shifting images in her short poems are like pop art. In her debut collection Vouwplannen (Folding Plans) the poems follow a tight pattern: she distorts images and strings them together to form incongruous assertions. She presents her private associations as general laws, and her brisk enunciation of those laws makes her work convincing.

Lasters imagines erasing certain words from the Internet, from dictionaries, from memory, and recording the silences resulting from the search for those words. In one poem, she decides to fill a hall with folding chairs that are opened every time she does not touch the other person or does not express something – a hall to sit in for a moment to register the state of affairs. In the poem ‘Plan’, she reasons that if unfolded boxes preserve something, boxes that have been folded flat contain the “blowing away of things”. These are the poems of a debutante: they have a certain daring and tough lightheartedness. Ruth Lasters knows that “never will a pane/refuse reflection of a fist that smashes it”.

Ruth Lasters’ first publication was the novel Poolijs (Polar Ice, 2006), for which she was awarded the Flemish Debut Prize. Vouwplannen appeared in 2007. Two years later her first collection of poetry won the Debut Prize of the magazine Het Liegend Konijn.

© Erik Lindner (Translated by Paul Vincent)


(Polar Ice), Meulenhoff/Manteau, Antwerp, 2006
Vouwplannen (Folding Plans), Meulenhoff/Manteau, Antwerp, 2007


The works of Ruth Lasters are published by Meulenhoff/Manteau

Ruth Lasters' personal website



Subscribe to the newsletter

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter Follow us (international)  

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter Follow us (Dutch)