Category Archives: Simon Vinkenoog

RIP Simon Vinkenoog (1928 – 2009)

RIP Simon Vinkenoog, 80, Dutch poet and writer.

Vinkenoog with Spinvis in a totally Fela Kuti-esque track

Simon Vinkenoog (1928 – 2009) was a Dutch poet and writer. He was instrumental in launching the Dutch “Fifties Movement“.

In the Anglosphere Vinkenoog’s name is associated with the Albert Hall poetry event (and the film Wholly Communion) and his connection with IT magazine.

He was one of the Néerlandophone beat writers. The same cultural climate that begot the beat writers in the United States engendered European counterparts.

These countercultures must be looked for in two spheres, the sphere of European counterculture and the sphere of European avant-garde.

In France this was the Letterist International, in Germany perhaps Gruppe 47; visually and on a European scale there was COBRA.

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.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Poetry… But Were Afraid to Ask Timothy Leary

Goede Raad is Vuur

Goede Raad is Vuur (cover photograph: ‘De Toren van Babel‘ in Ruigoord by Marrit Dijkstra)

Goede Raad is Vuur is a Dutch language poetry anthology and at the same time a theory of poetry, first published by Simon Vinkenoog in 2004.

Simon Vinkenoog is the Dutch Timothy Leary, just as Jean-Jacques Lebel was the French Timothy Leary, see counterparts.

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.

In this collection for example: “The Right Mask” by Brian Patten in a Dutch translation more powerful than its English original:

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.

Simon Vinkenoog at Demian yesterday

Simon Vinkenoog at Demian today




Simon Vinkenoog at Demian yesterday where he read from Goede Raad is Vuur to me (and the rest of Demian).

The Right Mask” by Brian Patten was translated by C. Buddingh’ is included in Goede Raad is Vuur, a poetry book by Simon Vinkenoog.

The Right Mask” is the ultimate mask allegory and a piece of cult poetry.

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.


Goede Raad is Vuur


The window display


Simon in de verte


Simon van dichtbij



Simon Vinkenoog @80, and, looking for equivalents

Save the mushrooms (2007) Simon Vinkenoog

Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog turns 80 today.

Simon can safely be regarded as the Dutch equivalent to Timothy Leary.

I wrote on equivalents here [1]. The concept is simple. Every country has its Woody Allen.

Does your country have an equivalent to Timothy Leary? Please let me known in my comment box.

Know this my son: when grief turns into life, life stops being grief

The Great Sphinx, photo by Maxime Du Camp, 1849,
taken when he traveled in Egypt with Gustave Flaubert.

This image to introduce you in the obliquest of ways to Simon Vinkenoog, a Dutch poet (Welk Masker Zal Ik Dragen) I have taken a liking to.

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:

Know this my son: when grief turns into life

life stops being grief

Some excerpts in Dutch:

“Weet dit, mijn zoon: wanneer leed leven wordt
houdt op het leven leed te zijn”

“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.”

(full text)

Saturday in the city

Saturday in Antwerp. First to Demian Antiquariaat, bought Dutch translations of Boris Vian‘s And We’ll Kill All the Ugly Ones (En al wie lelijk is maken we af) and Dirty Weekend for the birth of Romi, newly born daughter of G___ and E___.


Die Grosse Jux-Box

I then went to Lars of Vinyl looking for Greta Keller. I ended up getting Camille Saint-Saëns‘s The Carnival of the Animals, Spike Jones and Marlene Dietrich compilations and a strange novelty polka record Die Grosse Jux-Box on Europa (record label).

On Ugliness by Eco

On Ugliness

Atlas of contemporary art by Denis Gielen

The Atlas of Contemporary Art

Afterwards, I headed for the Fnac. The kind young man who had recommended Comic Grotesque two years earlier told me that On Ugliness by Eco had not yet been translated to English. He also showed me the informed The Atlas of Contemporary Art.

Freddy de Vree, the Magic Trio from Masscheroen by Hugo Claus

Plate from book on Masscheroen, illustration sourced here.

At around 16,00 pm, I went back to Demian Antiquariaat for the official opening of the Freddy de Vree expo: Antiquaire du surréalisme. Despite his feeble-voiced delivery which would have benefited from the use of a microphone, I enjoyed Christophe Vekeman‘s text on de Vree, who had apparently never met de Vree but who had been contacted by him on several occasions to react to his De Morgen columns. Vekeman’s angle was the mask-wearing of de Vree, sliding into his argument via a recent purchase of Mishima‘s Confessions of a Mask, which had also been a favorite of de Vree. The mask-wearing practices were represented at the expo by several “literaire mystificaties” (pseudonymously published works or “literary mystifications”) by de Vree such as Conny Couperus’s Sneeuwwitje en de leeuwerik van Vlaanderen (with Hugo Claus), a send-up of the crime thriller genre.

Afterwards I overheard the widow of de Vree, Marie-Claire Nuyens, talking to a man, a friend of the family. Her remarks shed more light on the character of de Vree than the speech or the exhibition. The man asked how the expo had come about. Marie-Claire replied: “It all started with a couple of e-mails by René” (owner of Demian). Marie-Claire remembered René because Freddy had said that he liked the young book shop owner. Continuing: “You know how very rarely Freddy expressed his appreciation for someone, so I figured, let’s do the exhibition.” With this de Vree’s widow confirmed that – as was to be expected from being a very close friend to the sometimes labeled arrogant W. F. Hermans – de Vree may not have been “De aardigste man van de wereld”.

Antiquaire du surréalisme features a wide selection of original editions by de Vree; photographs; recordings of his interviews with Topor, Burroughs, Alechinsky; photographs of the play Masscheroen (1968), in which de Vree stars nude. Notably absent at this opening was Sylvia Kristel, the last companion of de Vree. The expo at Demian is on until December 1, dedicated to one of the only intellectuals worthy of that title in Belgium.

The weekend

Friday evening the weekend started at the Scheld’apen, from where I went to Petrol to see Simon Vinkenoog (see the poem, a poem makes a visit to a poet and says “from now on you have to wear a mask”) performing backed by Spinvis.

Saturday went for some psychogeographical biking with my friend, and later that evening to dinner to my brother’s new digs. Finished the evening/night at Bartillia and Fake Bar where Factor 44 was holding a group exhibition and a party afterwards.

Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium
Sunday: Gorge(l), a show at the KMSKA themed around the sense of oppression and relief in art, curated by Sofie Van Loo. Most impressed by the work of Merlin Spie and dancer/performar Erna Omarsdo’ttir.

Feeling like blah-feme:

I am lonely.

There I said it. —blah-feme