The Poetry of Mustafa Stitou
One of Holland’s most promising young poets today
When Moustafa Stitou made his debut with Mijn vormen (My forms) in 1994, he was the first Dutch poet of Moroccan origin to publish a collection with a major publishing house. This might have helped a bit in raising extra attention to his work, as did the fact that he was only nineteen years old when he published it, but the most important reason for the sensation that Mijn Vormen caused, can merely be attributed to the unusual tone of voice the poet displayed in it, combined with highly original images and points of view.
His debut collection was nominated for the C. Buddingh’ Prize, the most important Dutch prize for first collections of poetry. In 1998 Mijn gedichten (My poems) followed and two years later both collections were republished in one volume.
His most recent collection, Varkensroze ansichten (Pig pink picture postcards), was published in 2003. It was immediately recognized as his best work so far and marked his position as one of Holland’s most promising young poets today. Soon after its publication, Varkensroze ansichten was selected as the ‘best collection of Autumn 2003’ by the Dutch Poetry Club. And a few months later, in May 2004, it was awarded the prestigious VSB Poetry Prize 2004.
The poet himself also regards this third collection as his best until now: ‘My debut was uninhibited, but it contained poems that were not really rounded off. In the second collection, the poems were more flawless and light-hearted, but I overtaxed the experiment. I’ve eased back with this collection: I’ve combined the candour of the first book with the precision of the second.’ In general, Stitou distinguishes himself by means of a phenomenal application of language in which emotion and intellect enter into a rare bond. He tacks easily between reality and imagination, irony and commitment, humour and seriousness – with all their ambiguities, invariably wrapped in dazzling forms. He is also an excellent reciter and performs at literary events and festivals throughout the country and abroad.