Tsead Bruinja

De poëzie van Tsead Bruinja

Frisian-Dutch Lyricism

In his debut collection De wizers yn it read Bruinja revealed himself as a tender lyrical poet who is often able to transmute extremely personal experiences into verse that is rich in imagery and highly musical. By joining together sentences or parts of sentences without punctuation as well as by an effective use of enjambement, he proved able to turn his poems into forceful, intense wholes.

A fine example is his poem ‘fjouwerjend kaam er út syn lêste dream’ (‘He galloped out his final dream’). The images in this poem, which in themselves bear witness to an inventive spirit, tumble over each other with great agility, together forming an extremely fragile and sensitive portrait. In his recent work, Bruinja reveals to an increasing extent just how adventurous his writing is. He seems to break language down into its primary elements and then to join them together in his own wilful way. In this way, poems emerge that create a highly suggestive and spontaneous impression. The reader imagines himself in a smithy: he sees how the iron is forged into new shapes. It has been said about Bruinja’s recent poetry that with its fragmentary composition, it bears witness to the age of television. You could also say that it is created out of a deep realisation that our experience has become fragmented.

Even on paper his poems remain effortlessly powerful. He does not adhere to one single form. There are long prose poems and short lyrical songs. His technique of dovetailing sentences by omitting punctuation thus realizes a consistently different effect. Bruinja explores just how far he can go with associative leaps and schisms, without allowing the coherence to fail.

Hans Groenewegen in Information for Libraries

He is a poet who can sing tenderly and lovingly, but also knows how to make the best use of robust, rough images and sounds. He is soft-hearted and tough. Has a caressing touch and an iron fist… Tsead Bruinja is a sensitive singer who can erupt hard and rough when least expected.

Willem Thies at poetry blog Poëzierapport

He recognizes the chaos of the world and acknowledges the ruthlessness of time, but refuses to submit in advance. Without bitterness or grimness, purely in the realization that life’s deck of cards has been shuffled this way. It does not stop him from orienting himself to ‘our everyday lives’, full of commitment and with playful vitality.

Eppie Dam in Dutch daily De Leeuwarder Courant


the names you use
for food cutlery and crockery on the table
are not the first names

which I learnt for food cutlery and crockery
and when you touch me you sometimes touch
a completely different part of me

than where my sister
would pinch me after I’d teased her
or where my mother would put a little
more effort in washing me

we sleep in the same bed
but yours is shorter
and mine sounds more
like the bleating of a goat

your father and mother
your grandfathers and mothers
they are called something else

they never cuddled up to you
gave you a kiss
or a good wash

we live in the same world
I cuddle up to you
give you a kiss

for those things we use
the same names no

your bed and kisses
are growing longer
every year

Tsead Bruinja

Tsead Bruinja (b. 1974) is an Amsterdam based poet, writing both in Frisian and Dutch. He made his debut in 2000 with the Frisian-language collection De wizers yn it read (The Meters in the Red). More recent titles include Overwoekerd (Overgrown; 2010), Stofsûgersjongers (Vacuum Cleaner Singers;…

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De poëzie van Tsead Bruinja (2011). Poëzie.


Voices from the North



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