What shape does Dutch art take in the American imagination? Austere, perhaps. Insular. Fixated on nature, every writer’s “traditional source of consolation.” And all of these qualities may indeed be true of the Netherlands’ early literature. But in Rinkeldekinkel, readers will encounter a radically different body of Dutch poetics—one defined by international cultural exchange, linguistic invention, and contemporary life.
Over three decades, the twenty-three poets featured here celebrate the colorful world that blossomed in the wake of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and global Cold War conservatism. Poets, writes anthology editor Rob Schouten, took this moment to adopt a “new view on reality,” one filled with “bewilderment and excitement.” The rise of multiculturalism in the Netherlands, the influence of pop culture, and a cultural shift away from highly formal language led to the development of a public voice that mirrored the changes happening across an increasingly diverse Western Europe.
From Mustafa Stitou’s surreal ruminations on death and faith, to Elma van Haren’s energetic and evocative verse, to Hester Knibbe’s ruminative feminist ekphrases, each poet in this anthology brings something distinct to the page. Rinkeldekinkel is a celebration of artistic variety that English-speaking audiences will be delighted to attend. “Nothing’s tied and all is loose,” writes Ingmar Heytze, so we all should “dance and know that [we] exist.”