Mark Boog

De poëzie van Mark Boog

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.

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 is a master of reversal and of ‘false appearance’ in the good sense of the term. He conceals nothing in this way, but actually makes everything more painfully visible. And in such a manner that you can often laugh about it.


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



The sky lies flat on the ground,
invisible and solid.

You are dressed in the colour of your hair,
in your eyes, your steps and your words.
You’re here and elsewhere. I give chase to you

and shudder. You are too tall perhaps,
or too near. Your inapproachability
is unforgivable. If I could be a bird –

but the precision escapes me
as does the trust. I look at you

and shudder. Talk to me, as I’ll keep quiet,
suffer my stranglehold, suffer
the awkwardness, suffer me, love.

(Translation by Willem Groenewegen)

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). He has since been publishing at high speed, certainly for a poet who boasts about his strong penchant for idleness: five novels and five new volumes of…

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De poëzie van Mark Boog (2014). Poëzie.



Kerkstraat 361
NL - 1017 HW Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 528 99 11
Fax: +31 20 528 99 12

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