Menno Wigman

Menno Wigman (b. 1966) published four poetry collections, compiled several anthologies, and translated a large number of European poets, including Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke and Else Laske-Schüler. In 2007 he made his debut as a prose writer with Het gesticht (The Mental Institution), a lively and fascinating report of the three months he spend as a poet-in-residence (!) at a mental institution near the Dutch village Den Dolder.

The poetry of Menno Wigman

(Prometheus, )

As a poet, and also as a translator, Wigman is steeped in the tradition of nineteenth-century ‘black’ romanticism, including that period’s mix of posture and authenticity. The existence he describes has all the hallmarks of a lost generation in the style of the French Poètes maudits. There is also a link with certain trends in pop music; Wigman has played in punk rock bands. His poetry is on the whole melancholy, sombre, in tone. He is, in fact, a modern-day practitioner of Weltschmerz and Spleen: love is consummated but doomed to fail; paradise is forever sought but never found, young people indulge in loose and licentious living, but gloom persists.

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