Bart Van der Straeten
Bart Van der Straeten
BiographyIn 2014 Bart Van der Straeten made his poetry debut with the publication of Onbalans (Imbalance) at publishing house Vrijdag. The collection, which was highly praised upon publication, contains poems that try to avert an existential crisis by a very well-built structure. In Onbalans uncertainty is taken for granted. In pure, naked and deep verses, the poet tries to assess the probability of the truth.
The poems report, each in their own way, on an existential crisis of which it remains unclear whether the crisis is conquered in a solution or whether it is turned into the further existence as a condition humaine. The longer poem ‘and the threes’ summarizes everything what is of importance in this collection in a phenomenal way. The paralysis, the desperation, the fear and the despair, the hoping and the (unfruitful) attempt to start anew, the decline and the leaping up, the sense of loss and uselessness, the longing for perfection and the dissatisfaction when it is reached, feelings of power that turn into powerlessness, and words that seem to haunt you and turn against you: all these complex impressions and feelings someone experiences when the bottom, or what he or she believes to be the ground, under his or her life is swept away are summed up in an impressive and sober way.
Although the theme of unbalance is central to the collection, the paradox of Imbalance is that it oozes a very powerful sense of enhancing equilibrium. Bart Van der Straeten shares with the reader a poet’s existential struggle by using a very explorative discourse in which every word has its importance in the verse, the poem, the series and the collection. An irresistible debut.
Bart Van der Straeten studied Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Ghent and is still connected to his alma mater as a lecturer.
© Patrick PeetersBibliography
Onbalans (Imbalance). Uitgeverij Vrijdag, Antwerpen, 2014
'Nine Infinitives', in: Banipal. Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, 57 Autumn/Winter 2016
Poems of Bart Van der Straeten
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère