You’re here and elsewhere

Mark Boog likes to reason and philosophize in his poems, without taking recourse to the great philosophers, however. He follows his own independent line of thought, using a logic that may seem anything but logical to others.

Original title
Mark Boog, 'De poëzie van Mark Boog'
Mark Boog

In his poems, most of which are situated indoors, he characteristically uses abstractions in the same role as concrete objects. In the poem ‘Water, aspirin, you’, for instance, the ‘you’ brings the ‘I’ an aspirin, whereupon the ‘I’ says: ‘And bring me, while you’re/ at it, an eternal darkness’. Grand abstractions such as happiness, chance, doubt, silence, time, loneliness, figure as commonplace objects in his poetry. In some poems this produces an amusing effect, reminiscent of the work of Dutch poet Toon Tellegen; in others it rather suggests a kinship with Gerrit Kouwenaar.

Boog in his poetry emphasizes the uselessness of all human actions, keeping in mind, moreover, that total destruction may be just around the corner: ‘and for a while the wrecker’s been awake,/ although on a heavy, iron chain in front of our window/ the wrecking ball hangs still, gleaming in the late summer sun.’ Yet the poet resists any kind of inertia: we ‘beat our night clothes, ourselves, like carpets’. It is the pointlessness which clothes everything ‘in a storm coat/ of tension’. The poet fights arbitrariness by plotting a course, and by classifying everything and anyone (e.g. himself as ‘among the lucky’). Language plays an allaying role here, as Boog says in an interview: ‘it helps to say things beautifully’.

His work is an interplay of intimacy and space, of domesticity and eternities.

Gerrit Komrij

Boog writes lucidly and comprehensibly, albeit with something mysterious and ambiguous in each line. An exciting poet

Mark Boog
Mark Boog (b. 1970) was awarded the Buddingh’ Prize for new Dutch-language poetry for his debut collection 'As if Something Happens' (2000).
Part ofPoetry
Share page