In an Unguarded Moment

In an Unguarded Moment

By Hanny Michaelis

Selected Poems Translated by Judith Wilkinson

Price: £12.00

ISBN: 978-1-915553-12-6

Number of pages: 128

Poetry, English translated from the Dutch, Paperback, 135x210mm

Available for purchasing online via Central Books

Hanny Michaelis (1922–2007) is an award-winning Dutch poet, known for her concise, almost epigrammatic poems. Hers is a poetry of restraint, but it is an impassioned restraint. As the daughter of Jewish parents who died in Sobibor, she was faced with loss at an early age. She spent the latter part of the war in hiding, being moved from one place to another whenever there was a risk of betrayal, and all the while she went on writing poetry and kept a diary. In sober, pared-down language she unflinchingly confronts her harrowing experiences, vividly recording her emotions, but without any note of self-pity. Her love poems, some of which arose from her difficult marriage to the well-known Dutch novelist Gerard Reve, are at once tender and critical, mournful and ironic.

‘Michaelis’ poems convey traumatic memories, conjured by everyday occurrences, in an almost unbearably matter-of-fact tone. In her impressionistic city sketches, the imagery is immediately converted into emotion, and threatening, heavy moments are presented sharply and clearly, without euphemisms.’ – Gert Jan de Vries, De Volkskrant

‘Although her oeuvre isn’t large, her voice can be recognised out of thousands: her poetry is both gentle and tough, uncompromising and wistful, with love and war fighting for ascendence, and humour lightening the darkness.’ – Janita Monna, Trouw

Tantalising uncertainty,
breeding ground for fabulous
misunderstandings, dazzling
weeds of doubt
to which hope clings
until death.
– Hanny Michaelis

Shoestring Press gratefully acknowledges the support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.