Poetry International Poetry International

Hagar Peeters

Hagar  Peeters

Hagar Peeters

(The Netherlands, 1972)
Hagar Peeters (Amsterdam, 1972) is an important voice in Dutch poetry who, ever since her debut Genoeg over de liefde gedicht vandaag came out in 1999, has been rooted firmly in the literary landscape. Even before the publication of her first collection, Peeters, who started out as a 'rap poet', was already a welcome guest at many venues, performing at such events as the Nacht van de Poëzie in Utrecht. She studied Cultural History and Liberal Arts at the University of Utrecht, was an editor for Historisch Nieuwsblad and published her doctoral thesis in 2001 under the title Gerrit de stotteraar. Biografie van een boef at Uitgeverij Podium.
In her debut collection, the poet mainly concerned herself with the various shapes and forms of love. In her more recent work, however, Peeters has been exploring different thematic lines. Not that love has vanished from her work, on the contrary: it is only placed in a certain perspective. Her newest collection, De schrijver is een alleenstaande vrouw (2019), is the first part of a triptych concerning the position of single mothers. Peeters, who used to wish ardently to never have to raise a child by herself, nonetheless has found herself in that position. According to the poet, the imaging surrounding single parents is underexposed and incomplete. She uses her poems to further colorize this image and describe life as a single parent as faithfully as possible.

About poetry, the author says: ‘the language used in a poem should not be difficult, unlike the content.’ Often, Peeters is inspired by stories of injustice and suffering, mainly stories about women. Take for instance her poem about Elisabeth Fritzl, who bore seven children by her father in an Austrian basement. Or Peeters debut novel Malva (2015), which relays the story of Malva Marina Reyes, the half Chilean, half Dutch daughter of Pablo Neruda, who never acknowledged his child (or her mother). The novel was translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, French, German, and Croatian, and Peeters received the Fintro prize for literature for the book in 2016. She investigates the difficult histories of these women, but by no means avoids looking critically at her own. She writes poems that tend to be confronting, in which she does not shy away from difficult memories (such as transgressive behaviour by men during her youth). Like Alfred Schaffer wrote about her newest collection in de Groene Amsterdammer: ‘Writing is employed to at least summon that which cannot be retrieved.’

Peeters herself describes the poet's life as a laboratory from which to take his or her experiences. From that laboratory have sprung the honest and direct lines which characterize her poetry: at times her work is humorous, other times, when the work demands, it is solemn and reverent.
© Fleur Jeras

Genoeg gedicht over de liefde vandaag, Podium, Amsterdam, 1999
Koffers zeelucht, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2003
Nachtzwemmen, Perdu, Amsterdam, 2005
Loper van licht, De Bezige Bij, 2008
Wasdom, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2011
De schrijver is een alleenstaande moeder, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2019

Malva, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2015
Gerrit de Stotteraar, De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2016
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