H.H. ter Balkt

H.H. ter Balkt (1938-2015) made his debut as a poet with work that was rooted in the rural life of the eastern Netherlands, as the title Boerengedichten (Peasant Poems, 1969) made clear. The landscape proved to be a constant factor in his substantial oeuvre, just like art and history. It is on these two poles that he built a swirling and compelling linguistic structure in which rock ’n roll, old tools, food and crops, historical personages, machines, and of course the smoke of pyres, the revolution, tobacco and industry are united in an overwhelming bond.

The poetry of H.H. ter Balkt

The poetry of H.H. ter Balkt

(De Bezige Bij, )

Besides this plethora of incidents and objects that all lend their own history to the poems, the great variety of voices and moods is also striking. Ter Balkt wrote poems like fire- and-brimstone sermons, but also like idylls, a declaration of love, a descent into the absurd, a song and a litany. What is striking in all of this is that the great number of things that occur to him, and occupy him, are always unified in a clearly constructed and homogenous poem. There are few poets who write poems in which so much happens as in the work of H.H. ter Balkt, and even fewer poets who did this in such a vital and unfettered way.

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