City of Sandcastles

City of Sandcastles

By Hagar Peeters

Translated from Dutch by Judith Wilkinson

Price: £12.00

ISBN: 978-1-912524-18-1

112 pages, paperback, 135x210mm

Hagar Peeters, born in 1972, found her voice early, and she is today one of Holland’s best-known poets. A strong physicality shapes her language, a language marked by deliberately halting rhythms and playful shifts in tone. Much of her work examines the subtleties of human motivation, without ever losing its immediacy. In her earlier poems she often scrutinises love and family relations, but in her later work there tends to be a sharper historical awareness and social engagement. While knowing exactly where her focus must lie, her work always retains a certain freshness. There’s something unapologetic about her work, which avoids anything stereotypically ‘feminine.’ Peeters has always been wary of literary coteries. She once said: ‘Poetry challenges the conformist way in which people destroy one another. This is why art corrects nature, with its survival of the fittest. I don’t even want to conform to myself.’

Her first collection, Genoeg Gedicht over de Liefde Vandaag (‘Enough said about love today’), gained her immediate recognition as a bold and distinctive new voice. Many of her subsequent collections—five to date—have been awarded prizes. In 2008 she was on the shortlist for Poet Laureate. She is also a critic, editor and columnist and has written a biography, Gerrit de Stotteraar—Biografie van een Boef (‘Gerrit the stammerer—biography of a scoundrel’, originally her M.A. thesis), in which she examines the life of this notorious Dutch burglar and escape artist in the context of the changes in the Dutch criminal justice system in the first decades after the Second World War. She has recently also turned to novel-writing and her first novel, Malva, was published in 2015.

Judith Wilkinson is a British poet and award-winning translator living in Groningen, the Netherlands. She has published many collections to date, including Toon Tellegen’s Raptors, for which she won the Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation in 2011. In 2013 she won the Brockway Prize, a biennial prize for the translation of Dutch poetry. Two collections of her own poems, Tightrope Dancer (2010) and Canyon Journey (2016) were published by Shoestring Press. Some of her poems have been performed by the London dance-theatre company The Kosh.