‘The first sentence began with I want’
K. Michel is able to view the world and life from an unforced, but far from naive, point of view. This ‘open’ and often surprising look produces poems in which unusual connections are made – for example between the coming into existence of the earth and human sleep convulsions – or in which he muses on such things as:
Complex processes: when I go barefoot
over the tiles towards the balcony,
my nose begins to sneeze
In clear, transparent language he dishes up for the reader a world he was unprepared for – one in which language begins with ‘Ouch’ or in which the Hofvijver palace lake in the Hague stands on end and its fish gaze out over the city.
Here and there, his poems are like skipping songs, compilations of what at first sight appear to be dissimilar things, out of which he seems to express a wonderful kind of randomness. All in all, his work is wise and playful, but above all light in tone. Even existential problems are not given a place in the lecture room but in the playroom. About the feeling of freedom, for example, he writes:
‘oho you cry
that’s not for you to dictate
that has to be my choice
otherwise it doesn’t count
fine you say
decide for yourself then.’
Recognisable and strange, everyday and unexpected, in K. Michel’s poems the reader never quite knows what to expect. His exuberant use of language and choice of subjects make him one of the most interesting poets around at present.