notes on dutch literature

Posts Tagged ‘Toon Tellegen’

A Man and an Angel

In More poetry please on August 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Paul Klee
Shoestring Press published a new collection A Man and an Angel by the internationally acclaimed Dutch poet Toon Tellegen this year. The poems enact a battle between a man and an angel, a never-ending fight that is difficult to quantify and yet seems instantly familiar. We witness man under pressure, wrestling with something primal: a volatile, temperamental spirit that is both a plague and a challenge. In the see-sawing dynamics of each encounter, worthy of the best absurdist theatre, Tellegen stays close to the pulse of the emotion, evoking the turbulence of an intimate struggle, where man and angel become interdependent. In the Netherlands, critics have praised the collection as one of Tellegen’s very finest, and the book was reprinted soon after its first publication.

A Man and an Angel was translated by the award-winning Judith Wilkinson who recently won the biannual 2013 Brockway Prize for her poetry translations.

More posts about Toon Tellegen:
About Love (and about nothing else)
Letters to Anyone and Everyone


Letters to Anyone and Everyone

In Children's books on November 23, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Letters to Anyone and Everyone - Toon Tellegen

In his philosophical animal tales, Toon Tellegen creates surreal stories and charming characters that will capture the imaginations of readers everywhere. Perfectly complemented by Jessica Ahlberg’s delicate illustrations, the collections of short stories is intelligent, moving and funny. Toon Tellegen has been writing his animal stories since 1984, each about two pages long and unique in their kind: written in a simple, yet sparkling tone, they are hidden gems that, once discovered, exert an irresistible attraction. His stories generated a body of enthusiastic readers of all ages and won all major prizes for children’s literature. They tell of Squirrel, Ant, Elephant and all their fellow creatures, whose lives glide along, apparently without meaning, in an impossible biotope: in Tellegen’s forest of animals all of the creatures have the same size and strength and each is the only one of its kind. Everything and everyone lives together in harmony. Everything is possible and there are no obligations.

Three collections of Animal stories are translated by Martin Cleaver, published by Boxer BooksLetters to Anyone and Everyone (Winner of The Marsh Award 2010 for the best book in translation); The Squirrel’s Birthday and Other Parties and Far Away Across the Sea

“Toon Tellegen’s ‘The Squirrel’s Birthday and Other Parties’ and ‘Letters to Anyone and Everyone’ are, quite simply, two of the loveliest and most charming collections of stories I have EVER had the pleasure of reading.” — Alison Morris, Publishers Weekly

On the publishers website you can also listen to a conversation between Toon Tellegen and Jessica Ahlberg.

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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