Hans Faverey was selected from our festival archives by Thomas Möhlmann from the Dutch Foundation for Literature, which regularly contributes new poets and poetry to our website. Möhmann offers the following insight into Faverey’s life and legacy:
Hans Faverey is considered one of the greatest and most influential Dutch poets of the twentieth century, but his poetic reputation grew slowly. His first two collections, Poems (1968) and Poems II (1972), gained cautious critical acclaim and were seen by some as ‘difficult’ and ‘hermetic’. His third volume, Chrysanthemums, Rowers (1977), was met with unanimous praise, and won the Jan Campert Prize. The poems in this collection indeed seem more accessible, though they still contain a sense of mystery and paradox. They also became slightly longer, setting a tone and format which he was to retain for the rest of his poetic life.
Faverey’s poetry seems modern and classical at the same time, transparent and complicated, unpredictable and witty. His work contains traces of the ancient philosophers (e.g. Heraclitus, but also Meister Eckhart), Anglo-Saxon literature and Chinese poetry. Faverey’s love of nature, his fascination with landscapes, is tangible in many of his poems. The title poem of Chrysanthemums, Rowers, in which eight rowers row further and further inland, until they simply cease to be, was an immediate household classic in Dutch poetry.
Faverey was born in Paramaribo, Surinam, but grew up in Amsterdam. He published eight collections of poetry, of which the last one, entitled Default, appeared only a few days before he died. He received many literary awards, including the Amsterdam Poetry Prize, the Jan Campert Prize and the prestigious Constantijn Huygens Prize for his entire oevre. A posthumous collection, Spring Foxes, appeared in 2000. A new, extended edition of his Collected Poems appeared in the Netherlands in 2010.
“A real find among the extensive list of European poets being translated into English.”
The Bloomsbury Review
Gedichten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1968
Gedichten 2, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1972
Chrysanten, roeiers, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1977
Lichtval, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1978
Gedichten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1980
Zijden Kettingen, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1983
Hinderlijke goden, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1985
Tegen het vergeten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1988
Het ontbrokene, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1990
Verzamelde gedichten, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1993
Springvossen, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2000
Gedichten 1962-1990, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2010
In translation (selection)
Gegen das vergessen: Gedichte, Kleinheinrich, Münster, 1991. German translations by Rosemarie Still.
Contre l'oubli, Joany, Paris, 1991. French translations by Joke J. Hermsen and Henk van der Waal.
Against the forgetting, New Directions, New York, 2004. English translations by Francis R. Jones.
In: Landscape with rowers, Princeton University Press, Princeton; Oxford, 2005. English translations by J.M. Coetzee.
In: Helan xiandai shixuan. Guangxi Normal University Press, Guangxi, 2007. Chinese translations by Gaoming Ma and Maghiel van Crevel.
In: V nizozemsku už nechci žít, Mladá Fronta, Praha, 2007. Czech translations by Veronika Havlíková, Olga Krijtová and Jana Pellarová-Irmannová.
In: Poetes néerlandais de la modernité, Le Temps des Cerises, Paris, 2011. French translations by Kim Andringa, Henri Deluy, Éric Suchère and others.
Chrysanthemums, rowers, Leon Works Press, s.l., 2011. English translations by Francis R. Jones and Lela Faverey.
Poèmes, Théâtre Typographique, Courbevoie, 2012. French translations by Érik Suchère, Erik Lindner and Kim Andringa.
In: 50 poetas de Ámsterdam, Eloísa Cartonera, Buenos Aires, 2013. Spanish translations by Conchita Alegre Gil, Fernando García de la Banda, Jan de Jager, Micaela van Muylem, Eva Navarro, Diego Puls and others.
Faverey’s poems have also been translated and published in Italian, Hungarian, Friulian, Swedish, Portuguese, Russian, Macedonian, Farsi en Rumanian.