Biography‘The poet is the surveyor of the invisible,’ writes André Schmitz, who was born on 17 August 1929 in Erneuville in the Belgian Ardennes. The poet seems to have at his disposal a sixth sense for things that are hidden in other things and for the meanings concealed in words. Because of that, in the gaze of the poet everyday happenings acquire something strange. Even the title of his main work, Les prodiges ordinaires (The Ordinary Marvels, 1991), indicates that he goes looking for the marvellous in the daily grind. Schmitz sets down in a few lines a completely ordinary situation, and a few lines further on confronts the reader with existential nothingness. The point is to dislocate the obvious so as to compel us to notice our surroundings to such an extent that we are in no danger of slipping into the ridiculous and the trivial. The object is to catch or retrieve a variable, transitory, meaning.
‘I talk about the sorrows of life with a self-confident voice’, André Schmitz writes. Whatever marvels the poet investigates, desperation and doubt are inherent in the human condition.
© John Fenoghen (Translated by Sarah Lawson)André Schmitz took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2007. This text was written on that occasion.
Les prodigues ordinaires (1991)
Les cerfs-volants (1994)
Lettres a l’illetrée (2000)
Dans la prose des jours. Poésie 1961-2001 (2002)
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère