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H.C. ten Berge

H.C. ten Berge

H.C. ten Berge

(The Netherlands, 1938)

Music sucks the dirt  

from invisible wounds.  

Restrained love breaks out  

from the hole in the wall.

-    from: On Piazzollastreet (2)


HC ten Berge is a Dutch translator, poet and writer.

His early poetry was marked by a bare and concise diction, a language full of discontinuities, pared down to essentials, so as to evoke powerful sentiments while avoiding sentimentality. The later work is more fluent and melodious, more overtly personal and intent on combining innovative and traditional elements as well as lyrical and intellectual impulses. The poems are usually grouped into cycles in which different voices and viewpoints combine to form multi-layered narrative sequences that range widely in scope and theme and incorporate a variety of historical and literary references.

The openness to the outside world which marks Ten Berge’s poetry is also apparent in his numerous translations that range from contemporary poetry to sacral hymns from across the world. Next to countless poetry collections and novels, he has published essays and has recorded an audiobook. His novel Het geheim van een opgewekt humeur (1986) was recognized with the Multatuli Prize. Furthermore, he has been awarded the Constantijn Huygens Prize in 1996 and the P.C. Hooft Prize in 2006 for his entire oeuvre. In 1973, he was the founding editor of the internationally oriented quarterly magazine Raster.

Poems of H.C. ten Berge
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère