(The Netherlands, 1946 - 2017)
© Tineke de Lange
BiographyInitially, Robert Anker wrote poems like those of Christ van Geel – small, concentrated verses full of symbolism. Over the years, however, he has developed into a ‘lifesize’ poet who makes use of social and topical themes. From minimal to maximal, from stillness to vitality, Anker’s poetic development reflects what took place in Dutch poetry in the 1980s – a considerable upheaval.
In a certain sense, you could call him a modern humanist poet, bearing in mind the shortcomings of De broekbewapperde mens (Man, trousers a-flutter), the man of the title of one of his recent collections, but without any moral judgment. The main character of these poems would seem rather to be inspired by a cheerful sort of sadness, a brisk acceptance of inadequate homo sapiens. The tone of his poetry is sometimes almost nonchalant, but behind this, undiminished, the words and problems of existence lie concealed:
Without death life is meaningless. Voilà.
For the rest it is the question of living through life. That we do that.
Both the tone and the message itself betray their casual-sounding though intense involvement in the great issues of life. This stamps him as one of the most prominent Dutch poets of the present time.
© Rob Schouten (Translated by John Irons)Selected Bibliography
Waar Ik Nog ben, Querido, Amsterdam 1979
Van Het Balkon, Querido, Amsterdam 1983
Nieuwe Veters, Querido, Amsterdam 1987
Goede Manieren. Een episodisch gedicht, Querido, Amsterdam 1989
In Het Vertrek, Querido, Amsterdam 1996
De Broekbewapperde Mens, Querido, Amsterdam 2002
Heimwee Naar, Querido, Amsterdam 2006
In het Westen de Laatste Trans, Querido, Amsterdam, 2011
Gemraad slasser d.d.t., Querido, Amsterdam, 2013
Onvergetelijke toegewijde trouweloze tijd, Querido, Amsterdam, 2015
De vergever, Querido, Amsterdam, 2016
De thuiskomst van kapitein Rob, Querido, Amsterdam 1992
Een soort Engeland, Querido, Amsterdam 2001
Hajar en Daan, Querido, Amsterdam 2004
Oorlogshond, Querido, Amsterdam, 2011
Het dagboek van Ejfe Jonker, Querido, Amsterdam, 2013
Schuim, Querido, Amsterdam, 2014
Essay collections on artists and writers
Olifant achter blok, Querido, Amsterdam 1988
Vergeten licht, Querido, Amsterdam 1993
Poet and novelist Robert Anker on the NLPVF website
Robert Anker at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library, The Hague)
An interview with Robert Anker, by poet and critic Remco Ekkers
Poems of Robert Anker
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère