Poet with poetry and daily life in one (Dutch poet Hannie Rouweler) / Interview by: Han Sung-rye

Poet with poetry and daily life in one (Dutch poet Hannie Rouweler)

Hannie Rouweler was born in Goor, a small town in the east of the Netherlands that borders Germany. Since it was a textile city, many religions were gathered, and residents of various races were mixed. Her father owned a construction company.

After becoming an adult, Hannie lived in various parts of the Netherlands and also stayed abroad for quite some time.

In Hannie’s poem, who is also a painter, a parable like a work of art stands out. Even though it is a hazy outline like watercolor, it makes it feel provocative. Such an analogy is similar to the shocking feeling of landscape paintings by the Dutch Impressionist painter Van Gogh or Expressionist watercolorist Emil Nord. It seems to have captured a scene and a moment, but eternity is implied. She was also inspired by Norwegian painters, including Munch. Like this, there is a feast of colors in Hannie’s poems.There are two main feelings in Hannie’s poems. These are the ‘compressed moments’ of ancient Chinese poetry and the ‘revelation’ described by the Irish author James Joyce. And no matter how profound, they write poetry in simple and plain language. In her recently published collection of poetry, “Two Sisters in the Rain,” she unfolded her poem, saying, “The reason that I write poetry is to write about everything around me as poetry.” When you read a poem, you seem to face each other and listen to the story. Nevertheless, it makes the reader fall into deep contemplation. There are many poems by her in which the voices of humans can be heard deeply like this.In a poem called Poetry: The tree stands alone among other trees/The forest is wide and the trail is hidden/and we only see what is unclear/Poetry is the light/Poetry is to dwell and to wander.’About the poem “Mary Magdalene” she explains: “It doesn’t matter who she really was. It doesn’t matter if she really existed. It is important to imagine this woman. In a recent new interpretation, she is emerging as the wife or mistress of Jesus. Indeed, if she dried Jesus’ feet with her hair, it was good for her own hair health too. Balm oil is used today to make hair healthy. Therefore, everyone has to apply balm oil on their hair and dry someone’s feet.’

Like this, Hannie Rouweler’s poem is unique and interesting. And each one has an individual voice. Reading Hannie’s poem feels like being in a car running in neutral gear. And you can feel the statis just before the rocks that have fallen in the calm lake cause ripples. Calm ripples spreading out in a concentric circle from a tranquil center… … . Also, the most typical Dutch landscape is felt.

The following is an interview with Hannie Rouweler in one question and one answer.


By; Han Sung-rye

Do you socialize to change the world?

I support groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. I also strongly advocate the movement for Black Lives Matter. All individuals, regardless of background, color, or country of origin, should have the right to a good education and equal employment opportunities. To do so, social change is necessary and urgent. We should all try to convey this message all the time.

Why did you write poetry and became a poet?

In fact, I don’t know why I became a poet. There are people who say that to write poetry, you have to be half crazy. There are also people who say that a poet is just ‘being’ one. I agree with the latter. This is the motivation that is constantly present in everything. Otherwise, you will soon stop writing. Because number of people that read poetry is getting less. Some people read poetry only when life is difficult. However, most poets write poetry because they cannot resist it, like artists. Creativity is deeply rooted in humans and is a passion that stems from human origin.

How did you come into contact with poetry directly?

When I was in elementary school, in Holland, I followed the old teaching that poetry should be memorized. I was the first to read the works of famous Dutch contemporaries. But later, I was attracted to the poems of poets who lived in the golden age of the Netherlands. For example, these are the poets of the time Rembrandt lived. One of them, Vondel, is known as a Dutch national poet, and among his works is a poem that writes about the pain of the loss of a child. The child was called an “angel,” and it was a sad poem. The poem captured my heart as a child.

Which poet do you like and which poem do you like?

I don’t have a poet that I really like, or that I don’t like. When I read a poem, I look for something special and something that attracts me. Poetry has a variety of expression methods, a variety of subjects, and a variety of styles, it can be difficult and easy to access, and can be written with an open or closed writing style. This is an essential condition that can appeal or influence a language. If we want to keep reading the poems over and over, there must be some depth in them.

Do you think poetry can change the world?

I see all kinds of poetry as trying to contributing to changing the world.

However, in the end, it is the readers of poetry, the normal people, who change the world. In the meantime, I have been writing poetry on various topics. Because I believe that everything in the world can be expressed in poetry. Whenever I write poetry, I often think that the reality of being able to write poetry is important.

I’m not sure about the proposition that poetry can change the world. Someone must come forward to make a difference. This requires dedication and determination, as well as many other strengths. Perhaps the artistic expression should be the most valuable of all sorts in life, and the other should lead to insights that allow more respect for everything else. Art can stimulate a lot, and it allows us to confront us with flaws that we all have.

What do you want your poetry to do for the world?

Poetry is art, and not everyone is open to it. Poetry should act as a part of understanding art. Art itself also forces it. You shouldn’t turn away from this, you should think deeply about it. There are many poems that handle about all the terrible wars of mankind, poverty, injustice, madness, and the misery of the world that is likely to get worse in the future. Nevertheless, poetry cannot change this reality. Therefore, everyone should be wise and ask himself more questions. It is like a scale. If you put all wealth on one side of the scale, the scale will tilt to one side.

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