Tomas Lieske

The poetry of Tomas Lieske

Tomas Lieske made his debut at the age of forty-four with the poetry collection The Ice Generals (1987), but quickly expanded his sphere of activity to cover a broad literary front. Having maintained a poetry chronicle for Tirade magazine, he began to publish successful novels and short story collections. But poetry remained his core business. In his poems, imagination and the unutterable play a significant role but, all the same, Lieske is also a matter-of-fact poet who regards metaphysics and mysteries as human projections. His remarks on dreams are typical of his attitude: ‘They gnaw at your fingernails, speak a language, bring good luck/ although they don’t even exist.’

With captivating images and extraordinary use of language he constructs his own unique world, which you see developing on paper but which also develops within the reader. Lieske transports his readers on an uncertain but enchanting adventure. Through his exceptional manner of depiction and his wayward use of language, with expressions such as ‘brackish raking slacks’ or a ‘trout-fungic carpet’, he is one of the most exuberant figures in Dutch poetry, someone who continues the legacy of Gerrit Achterberg and Lucebert in his own specific way. Originally he wrote mostly broad, dispersive poetry; later poems are more sober. In the meantime, essential matters remain prominent: he is not primarily interested in everyday news and the rumour of society and politics, but his poems are replete with love and pain, with sexuality and animality, with human nature and magic. With all these elements, his work retains a playful and occasionally absurd character, a quality in which you can recognize the theatre-maker who plays all possible roles. A person who calls a poem about telephone sex ‘Annunciation’, demonstrates that he is capable of blending registers and cultures like a literary alchemist.

A collection that cherishes, as a fragile egg, the mystery that keeps us going, and which paints the excitement and joy of love in an unparalleled way in every poem.

VSB Poetry Prize Jury about How to Recognize your Lover

Tomas Lieske has plenty to offer: a fully-fledge voice, sophisticated poems, sensitive descriptions and pure nerve.

Nikki Dekker in 8weekly

You enter a world that was not there previously, a world in which a delicate equilibrium exists between anxiety and love, between horror and beauty.

Bert van Weenen in Meander

Tomas Lieske

Tomas Lieske (b. 1943) debuted at the age of 38 with poetry published in the literary journals Tirade and De Revisor. In 1992 his first prose work, Oorlogstuinen (War Gardens), gained him the Geert-Jan Lubberhuizen Prize. In 1996 his novel Nachtkwartier (Night Quarters) was nominated for the Libris…

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De poëzie van Tomas Lieske . Poetry.

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