Vinkenoog was born in the same year as Andy Warhol, Serge Gainsbourg, Jeanne Moreau, Nicolas Roeg, Guy Bourdin, Luigi Colani, Stanley Kubrick, Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, William Klein, Roger Vadim, Yves Klein, Jacques Rivette, Alvin Toffler, Ennio Morricone and Oswalt Kolle.
Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet standing on Emotional Rescue
His latest novel Godverdomse dagen op een godverdomse bol (Eng: Goddamned Days on a Goddamned Planet) was not released through conventional channels but given away free with Humo magazine which understandibly upset the bookselling business. The book’s release did not go unnoticed, far from it, I believe one out of every 20 Flemish people now have a copy in their homes. Imagine that on the scale of a large country. Incredible.
The novel should be seen as an epic poem rather than regular novel. It’s difficult to imagine that as novels go, this one is plotless, unless you concede that reality lacks plot for want of a plotter.
Most people seem to find the novel boring and hard to read, others have remarked to laugh out loud while reading.
Verhulst is a writer pur sang. He never repeats a formula. I agree that this novel is cold, but its reputation will go a long way. Still, I will be wanting some emotional relief from his future writing.
Note to self: should be able to get hold of Verhulst’s poetry.
The book is the definitive guide to cult poetry and begs for a English translation.
These are the poets and theorists mentioned:
Gerrit Achterberg, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hans Andreus, Antonin Artaud, Charles Baudelaire, Hakim Bey, Breyten Breytenbach, C. Buddingh’, Remco Campert, Ernesto Cardenal, Hugo Claus, Jean Cocteau, Gregory Corso, e.e. cummings, Isidore Ducasse, Jan Elburg, Desiderius Erasmus, Clayton Eshleman, David Gascoyne, Guido Gezelle, Allen Ginsberg, Goethe, Jan Hanlo, Hermann Hesse, Johan Huizinga, Jos Joosten, Rutger Kopland, Gerrit Kouwenaar, D. H. Lawrence, Lucebert, Navaho, Ben Okri, Paul van Ostaijen, Brian Patten, Ilja Leopard Pfeijffer, Sybren Polet, Ezra Pound, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Rodenko, Jalal al-Din Roemi, A.Roland Holst, Nanao Sakaki, Bert Schierbeek, Hans Sleutelaar, Gary Snyder, Fritz Usinger, Hans Verhagen, Dominique de Villepin, Eddy van Vliet, Tito de Vries, Alan Watts, Lew Welch and Walt Whitman.
One night a poem came up to a poet.
From now on, it said, you must wear a mask.
What kind of mask? asked the poet.
A rose mask, said the poem.
I’ve used it already, said the poet,
I’ve exhausted it.
Then wear the mask that’s made out of
a nightingale’s song, use that mask.
Oh, it’s an old mask, said the poet,
it’s all used up.
Nonsense, said the poem, it’s the perfect mask,
still, try on the god mask,
now that mask illuminates heaven.
It’s a tight mask, said the poet,
and the stars crawl about in it like ants.
Then try on the troubador’s mask, or the singer’s mask,
try on all the popular masks.
I have, said the poet, but they fit so easily.
Read the rest of this sublime poem here.
I know own a signed and author-illuminated copy of Goede Raad is Vuur.
Goede Raad is Vuur is the first book on poetry I own.
The window display
Wim T. Schippers
This post is mainly intended for people living in Antwerp or the environs.
There are many things to be said about Wim T. Schippers, but since I write this blog in English and most of my readers are from all over the globe, these things will be of interest to few. Suffice it to start by saying that Schippers belongs to the Dutch Dada tradition.
I say Dada because Surrealism is to weak a word; and it can be agreed upon that surrealism was not but an insipid decoction of Dada; Dada having the chronological benefit of course. On the other hand, I realize there is no use bemoaning the insipidness of Surrealism, since Surrealism was its best possible replacement. Nevertheless, Surrealism to my liking has always been too formalistic and dogmatic.
In discussing Schippers, a number of comparisons are called for. In the Dutch language geographical area, we have Doctorandus P. whom I celebrated here and  and who is most certainly a precursor of Schippers. Internationally, one can compare Schippers to Monty Python.
Famous banana clip (I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear!)
Now the force of Schippers resides in his mainstream influence, most Dutch-speakers know him without knowing him, he is voice actor of a number of voices of the local version of Sesame Street, most famously Ernie. In The Netherlands he is also known by face as the presenter of a popular science quiz show.
Outside of some dim recollections of his 1970s TV shows, he crossed my personal path each Wednesday afternoon when I listened to his radio show on VPRO (Schippers in the persona of Jacques Plafond (Eng: Jacques Ceiling) . These shows were hilariously irreverent. It was love at first sight.
Shit, I forgot my car, from a Sjef Van Oekel comic
Ernie’s drol (Ernie’s Turd)
photo Laurens Bontes
Much better than the similar work of Paul McCarthy
Going to the Dogs -Part 01 – This is the famous play for dogs by Dutch Wim T. Schippers.
The song “Pollens, wat een heisa!,” from which the homage’s title was taken. Notice the naked ladies towards the end
Phil Bloom, reading the news naked, in 1967 on national television.
He was Flanders’ celebrated cult author and the darling bipolar genius of the alternative press (De Morgen and Humo); where he played his role of tortured artist sometimes reluctantly, sometimes willingly.
Soethoudt was the first Flemish printer to translate and publish Sade, years before Bert Bakker did the same in The Netherlands. He was printer-for-hire with an interesting bibliography: partly risqué and sensational, partly literary fiction by authors such as Georges Adé, Heere Heeresma, René Gysen, Gust Gils, Freddy de Vree, Claude Krijgelmans, Patrick Conrad, Louis Willems and Jef Geeraerts. These authors also often translated for Soethoudt and published more often than not under pseudonyms for his imprints.
Soethoudt was no Eric Losfeld, but Belgian’s nearest equivalent. Ah, the glorious days of literary mystifications! Read all about them in Soethoudt’s 2008 autobiography titled Uitgevers komen in de hemel , edited by Harold Polis, Berckmans’s last publisher.
Save the mushrooms (2007) Simon Vinkenoog
Simon can safely be regarded as the Dutch equivalent to Timothy Leary.
Does your country have an equivalent to Timothy Leary? Please let me known in my comment box.
Yesterday, Vinkenoog introduced me to one of his favorite poems: De Stem van Vincent; which Vinkenoog called on his non-rss blog “one of the most impressive poems in the Dutch language”. It is a poem by Flemish poet Paul van Ostaijen dedicated to Vincent van Gogh. I will translate the first sentence:
Some excerpts in Dutch:
“Niet het te zijn of niet te zijn is de levensopgaaf,
maar het misterie van het zijn vult alles,
Het eigen zijn. Dat over alles te leggen.”
“En telkens woont
‘t woord onder ons
dat ons bewoont, –
De weg van de Verlosser,
de weg van het leed;
een hoogvlakte van geluk.”
We zijn hier aan de oever van een machtige rivier
De andere oever is daarginds, en deze hier is hier
De oever waar we niet zijn noemen wij de overkant
Die wordt dan deze kant zodra we daar zijn aangeland
En dit heet dan de overkant, onthoudt u dat dus goed
Want dit is van belang als u oversteken moet
Dat zou nog best eens kunnen, want er is hier veel verkeer
En daarom vaar ik steeds maar vice versa heen en weer
English rough translation, see untranslatability
We are here at the shore of a mighty river
The other shore is over there, and this one is over here
The shore where we are not is called the other side
Which will become this side as soon as we land there
And this then we call the other side, please remember well
This is important if you want to cross
And that is very possible, there’s lots of traffic here
And that is why I cross the river vice versa “to and fro”
André was one of a kind and we hit it off immediately. He had I believe only just finished high school and was 18 or 19 at the time. He was smart and creative, had theories on dancing (“when I dance, it’s all in the face”) and one on synchronicity which has stayed with me all this time. He was convinced that there was a Chinese equivalent to every American actor, and was thus constantly on the look-out for the Chinese Woody Allen.
Whether he found him or not, I don’t know, and – sadly – I also lost track of André. My wife and I were supposed to stay in Shanghai for a year but we left after six months, just before the Tank Man incident. I was young and when André and I parted ways I did not exchange addresses with him, thinking that if I was supposed to meet him again it would surely happen.
You probably ask yourself, what does this have to do with the Youtube clip above by Drs. P? Well, every country has a couple of artists, musicians or writers which are one-of-a-kind (sui generis). Drs. P is one of those people, he is a genius and cannot be compared to anyone within the Dutchophone area of Europe I live in.
However, I am convinced that every country in the world has its Drs. P. There must be one in Spain, New Zealand or the United States. Drs. P.’s sensibilities (word play, absurdism, playful narrativity, humor) must be synchronously present in every country in the world.
The question is for you dear reader, who is your country’s Drs. P. Or who is your country’s Woody Allen?