Job Degenaar (Netherlands)

Job Degenaar (Netherlands)
Job Degenaar taught the Dutch language, especially for higher educated foreign students and published poetry, prose and essays about literature and culture in many national and international magazines, anthologies and newspapers. He translated lyrics from Paul McCartney, the German poet Reiner Kunze and persecuted writers, and edited various anthologies. But above all he is a poet. His poetry is characterized as ‘clear, with a hint of mystery’. More than a dozen collections of his poems were published in the Netherlands, as well as an anthology of his work in Poland and a trilingual edition (German-English-Dutch) in Germany. His latest poetry collection is Hertenblues (Deer Blues), second edition 2018.
He was a board member of PEN Netherlands for 10 years and since 2017 he is the president of PEN Emergency Fund, a worldwide operating fund for writers in direct need. Website:
High view on this life
There was stacked wood glowing
sun faded behind the mountains
we drank nostalgic for happiness
remained seated, slightly drunk
evening naturally turned into night
Above us developed slowly
a disruptive decor of stars
strumming on our retina, sometimes
crossed by silent satellites
the light arrows of heavenly stones
and the nearby flashing
of softly whirring planes
Then it has been for us, mortals
nice enough again
ground fog surrounded us
one became connected with Facebook
another rolled a cigarette
and blew question marks into space
In the distance, out of darkness
the roaring of deer
their old blues
Translation: Hannie Rouweler
The Art of Writing Poetry
I believe in the dandelion plume
which is quite a strain to catch
and that in one sigh you can blow away
as soon as you’re bored
That leaves one so much room
it almost isn’t there when it is
but that with delicate barbs
still binds the earth to itself
Translation: Willem Groenewegen
What night does to a harbour
Weightless glinting water
the harbour lights sway
fisher boats lie
anchored in blue
A man, unstirring heron
sits cast in bronze
in his hand a dip-net
that leaks oiled daylight
he stirs, strikes hard
a splash, but nothing
other than his silhouette and net
and the river’s wrinkles
So empty it has now become
that someone sprinkles stars
and the intimate clamour calls to me
that blows in gusts from bars afar
Translation: Willem Groenewegen
Free the air in which who flies
sees a non-torn world of clouds
varying in shape and color
and sky blue’s suctioning
and below a landscape
that is gradually changing
and what is moving in it
changes naturally with it
But down to earth, freedom is a coincidence
and whoever is adrift for a war, is like a beetle
that wants to cross a heap of sand
but falls back and on his back
And sometimes a supreme being
that is watching his struggles
still shoves him a sandstorm
when he is almost at the top
(Translation: JD)
The clarity of mornings
Thinly spread with snow the field
has brightened up, only the bus shelter
still mutters in the wind
All things are like they are: the fields
are fields, the bus stop bus stop
quiet rustling in the bushes
a road of bronze leading
to the sun and a traveller
in a hat and coat
The morning is full of questions
that do not exist
(Translation: JD)
Pandemic days
In those days when a virus paralyzed us
light and dark fused into an ashen
landscape, you desperately
searched for a way out
If only something, you were thinking
could come from another world, a breath of
wind in the tufts of grass, a feather falling down
from nowhere, a sweet smell, a tender gesture –
In the dense cloud cover
a thin spot formed spontaneously
(Translation: JD)
A phenomenon
Sometimes love comes
from the deep it arises
like a woman on an escalator
on her way to fashion
Afterwards you spy her
on the forecastle of a ferry
singing along, gliding from under a bridge
right into the sun’s wide open arms
(Translation: JD)

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