Miriam Van hee debuted in 1978 with her poems about homesickness, melancholy and loneliness. To her displeasure she was classified by the critics as neoromantic, the predominant trend in Flemish poetry at that time. Nevertheless, her poetry is not a flight from reality, as Van hee does broach realistic subjects. Her style is also close to spoken language and appears, if anything, cautious. Falteringly, the poetess attempts to come to terms with the world, while holding on to the familiar. The reader imagines himself safe in her world, an illusion that is often suddenly dashed.
Her sixth collection of poems, Achter de bergen (‘Behind the Mountains’, 1996) was awarded the Flemish Culture Prize for Poetry in 1998. That same year, her poems were collected in Het verband tussen de dagen. Gedichten 1978-1996 (‘The link between the days: poems’ 1978-1996), from which a large selection has been translated into French. This led the publication Magazine Littéraire to name her ‘the poetic discovery of the past few years’. De bramenpluk (‘Blackberrying’, 2002), includes poems about travel, landscapes, animals, art and love. Her latest volume, Buitenland (‘Foreign country’, 2007) was awarded the Herman de Coninck Prize for the best collection of poetry in 2008.
Van hee is one of the most translated living poets from Flanders and was invited by poetry festivals all over the world.She has won the Poesias prize for European poetry, and her work has been recommended in England by the Poetry Book Society.
Van hee is also a slavist and has translated works by authors such as Mandelstam and Achmatova. Her most recent collection, ook daar valt het licht (‘there too falls the light’, 2013) was nominated for the 2014 VSB Poetry Prize.
© Tom Van de Voorde
Het karige maal (The scanty meal), het Masereelfonds, Brussels 1978
Binnenkamers en andere gedichten 1977-1980 (Interior and other poems), het Masereelfonds, Brussels, 1980
Ingesneeuwd (Snowed In), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1984
Winterhard (Winter-Hardy), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1988
Reisgeld (Travel Money), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1992
Achter de Bergen (Behind the Mountains), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1996
Het verband tussen de dagen. Gedichten 1978-1996 (The link between the days. Poems 1978-1996), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1998
De bramenpluk (Blackberrying), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2002
Buitenland (Foreign Country), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2007
ook daar valt het licht (there too falls the light), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2013
Buitenland (Abroad), De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2016
País al Fondo (Spanish), El Tucán de Virginia, Mexico City, 2008
Selected poems (Russian), Letny Sad Publishers, Moscow, 2009
Instead of silence (English), Shoestring Press, Nottingham, 2007
La cueillette des mûres (French), Le Castor Astral, Bordeaux, 2006
Der Zusammenhang zwischen den Tagen (German), Korrespondenzen, Vienna, 2006
Gervuogiu Skynimas (Lituanian), Aidai, Vilnius, 2004
Och vi for förbi (Swedish), Ellesrtröms/Lagland, Lund, 2001
Le lien entre les jours (French), Le Castor Astral, Bordeaux, 2000
Komunikacja miejska (Polish), Wytrin Artystow, Klodzko, 1992
Prize for the best poetry debute from the province of East-Flanders (1977)
Literary prize from the city of Ghent (1985)
Poetry prize from van De Vlaamse Gids (1988)
Jan Campert prize (1989)
Flemish Culture Prize for Poetry (1998)
Herman de Coninck Prize (2008)
Herman de Coninck Readers’ Prize (2008)
Miriam Van hee on Lyrikline (in English).