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Poetry From the September 2011 issue: Homage


On Tao Qian

Over Tao Qian

Tao Qian on Tao Qian:
He likes to read and is satisfied with the most simple of explanations.
When he understands what something means, he is so happy he forgets to eat.

Su Dongpo on Tao Qian:
He writes the way someone who is no longer impatient speaks.

Huang Tingjian on Tao Qian:
The poems are of no use
to someone just out of childhood,
but if he rereads them when he is old
it is as if he has made his decisions without knowing enough.

Huang Tingjian says that Su Dongpo is like Tao Qian.

Like two ducks, sleeping next to each other on the bank of the river that carries the rain to the sea while the storm rages on.

Translation of "Over Tao Qian." © Nachoem Wijnberg. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by David Colmer. All rights reserved.

Tao Qian over zichzelf:
Hij leest graag en is tevreden met de meest eenvoudige uitleg.
Als hij begrijpt wat iets betekent is hij zo blij dat hij vergeet te eten.

Su Dongpo over Tao Qian:
Hij schrijft zoals iemand spreekt die niet meer ongeduldig is.

Huang Tingjian over Tao Qian:
Iemand die gisteren nog een kind was
heeft niets aan de gedichten,
maar als hij ze herleest als hij oud is
is het alsof hij zijn beslissingen genomen heeft zonder genoeg te weten.

Huang Tingjian zegt dat Su Dongpo als Tao Qian is.

Als twee eenden, tegen elkaar aan slapend, naast de rivier die de regen naar de zee brengt, terwijl het verder stormt en regent.

© Nachoem Wijnberg




Nachoem M. WijnbergNachoem M. Wijnberg

Nachoem M. Wijnberg is one of the Netherlands' preeminent living poets. His debut De simulatie van de schepping (The Simulation of Creation, 1989) was nominated for the Buddingh' Prize, the most important prize for Dutch-language debut collections. He has won several other awards and was nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize, the greatest honour a Dutch-language poetry collection can receive. His most recent collection is Divan van Ghalib (Divan of Ghalib). In 2012 a book of English translations (by David Colmer) will be published by Anvil Press Poetry.

Translated from DutchDutch by David ColmerDavid Colmer

David Colmer is an Australian writer and translator who lives in Amsterdam. He is the author of a novel and a collection of short stories, both published in Dutch translation in the Netherlands, and the translator of more than twenty books: novels, children's literature, and poetry. He is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize and won the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier and PEN Translation Prize for his body of work. In 2010 his translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s Boven is het stil (The Twin) won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.