Bart Meuleman is a playwright, writes essays on subjects such as politics and pop music and, together with illustrator Paul Verrept, writes children’s book featuring his alter ego ‘Mister Retch’ (Meneertje Kokhals). Above all, though, Meuleman is a poet. His debut kleine criminaliteit (petty crimes, 1997) already hints at the menace and ambiguity pervading his second volume hulp (help, 2004). This second volume was nominated for the prestigious VSB poetry prize and awarded a Charlotte Köhler bursary.
The poems in hulp show the influence of the theatre: the two characters presented are utterly at the mercy of their urges, fears and desires. It never really becomes clear who is crying for help and who actually offers it, and whether help is even a viable option. Consolation is conspicuously absent from this volume. Looking through the eyes of a slightly confused and power-hungry first person, we observe the sadistic experiments he carries out on a submissive second person – all described in clinical yet familiar language. hulp is representative of Meuleman’s themes and obsessions; he is a cold observer of what might better be concealed behind closed doors. Meuleman portrays characters who cast off their façades and make their way through a dark universe of loveless dependency, power, perversion and rampant sexual compulsions.
His third poetry volume, omdat ik ziek werd (because I got ill) won the VSB Poetry Prize 2009 for young readers.
In 2009 Bart Meuleman published the essay book De donkere kant van de zon - Over popmuziek (The Dark side of the sun - on pop music).
kleine criminaliteit (petty crimes), amerika, Antwerp, 1997
hulp (help), Querido, Amsterdam, 2004
omdat ik ziek werd (because I got ill), Querido, Amsterdam, 2008
De donkere kant van de zon – Over popmuziek (The dark side of the sun – on pop music), Querido, Amsterdam, 2009
J.C. Bloem prize (2005, nomination)
VSB poetry prize (2004 and 2009, nomination)
Culture Prize of the University of Leuven (2008)
VSB Poetry Prize for young readers (2009)
The works of Bart Meuleman are published by Querido.