notes on dutch literature

About Love

In More poetry please on November 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

About love and about nothing else - Toon Tellegen

Born in 1941 in Den Briel, in the rural southwest of Holland, Toon Tellegen is one of the best-known Dutch writers of his generation. His span and volume of work is prolific; he has written a series of successful and award-winning books for children, material for the stage, as well as short stories and longer prose for adults. In addition to this, he has also had several highly acclaimed collections of poetry published. A jack of all trades perhaps, but Tellegen has certainly mastered more than one.

His latest collection of poems, Raptors is Tellegen’s second collection of poetry published in the UK by Carcanet. The title, plucked blind from a dictionary, is indicative of a collection of poems which are as dazzlingly original as they are bewilderingly abstract. Read here the review by The Poetry Society. Judith Wilkinson‘s translation won the Popescu Prize in 2011

Wilkinson also translated his collection About Love and About Nothing Else


A man wanted to talk about love.
“No . . . ! Not about love . . . !” everyone cried
and everyone departed or knocked him down,
and death peered through a window:
“About love . . . ? Ridiculous . . . !”

That man put on a pair of wings
like those of a thrush,
but larger and more despairing,
and away he flew and sang about love
and love sang about him, murmured about him –

never did a man go to bed more sorrowful
on the indifferent earth.


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