Martinus Nijhoff

Martinus Nijhoff (1894-1953) wrote essays, translations, theatre plays, and poems. During his life he published four collections of poetry, which belong to the best work ever published in Dutch. Right from his debut with De wandelaar (The Walker) in 1916, he was recognized as a poet of rare genius. His following compilations, Vormen (Forms) in 1924 and Nieuwe gedichten (New Poems) in 1934, confirmed his reputation as a great innovator of the Dutch literary landscape, although he remained faithful to traditional verse forms. Nijhoff’s last work of poetry was the long epic poem Het uur U (H-Hour), which was published in conjunction with Een Idylle in 1942.

The poetry of Martinus Nijhoff

(Prometheus, )

The poetry of Martinus Nijhoff possesses an intoxicated clarity that conceals enigmatic worlds behind its ostensible simplicity. His debut collection De wandelaar (The Walker, 1915) appeared during the First World War, which the poet experienced as a mobilized soldier in the neutral Netherlands. The book was immediately received as being different and modern.

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