Roelof ten Napel
Roelof ten Napel
(The Netherlands, 1993)
© Jan Reinier van Vliet
BiographyRoelof ten Napel (1993) debuted in 2015 with Constellaties (Constellations), a short-story collection promptly nominated for the J.M.A. Biesheuvel Prize. The year after, the city of Utrecht awarded him a C.C.S. Crone stipend. After publishing a novel, Het leven zelf (Life Itself, 2017), and poems, stories, and essays in various magazines, such as Het Liegend Konijn, Revisor, and Tirade, ten Napel made his poetry debut in 2018 with Het woedeboek (The Book of Anger).
The poems deal with breaking away from tradition and personal history (“langzaam breekt je / ruggengraat, je geschiedenis / een unheimische knik”), the narrator separating himself from the environment he grew up in, from family and custom. A key element in this process is religion, as breaking with tradition also means breaking with one’s faith (“het gezicht van god / trekt aan me voorbij, ik zie alleen zijn rug / ik zie hem alleen maar verkleinen”). Reading closely, many poems incorporate quotations from the Bible, and at the heart of the collection is a series of poems all entitled “psalm.” In these poems, the narrator seems to grow ever more estranged from the place where he grew up.
The poet shows himself to be vulnerable, perhaps especially in the final section, titled “jongen” (boy), in which he writes about his boyfriend, falling out of love, and breaking up.
© Feline Streekstra (Translated by Florian Duijsens )Bibliography
Het woedeboek, Hollands Diep, Amsterdam, 2018
(nominated for De Grote Poëzieprijs)
In het vlees, Hollands Diep, Amsterdam, 2020
Constellaties, Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, 2014
Het Leven Zelf, Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, 2017
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère