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Benno Barnard

The Netherlands

(c) Renata Barnard

Benno Barnard (1954) has always been strongly influenced by the Anglo-Saxon writers of the interwar period in his work. The same is true of his latest poetry collection Het trouwservies (The Wedding Crockery) (Atlas Contact, 2017). In these poems, Barnard displays a historic pessimism and an interest in the imperfection of human life. Although restrained, the poems are also sonorous and well structured. In seemingly regular forms, with erudition and a love of the traditional, it seems that Barnard is not afraid to place himself in another time frame. At the same time, the poems could not have been written at any other point in time than now: if you look closely, you see that in actual fact, he has left clues in all his poems, just like the cracks in the crockery.

“The Anglo-Saxon influence is ever present in Benno Barnard’s poetry. It produces impressive poems about the imperfection of human existence. (…) No Dutch poet expresses the ups and downs of fatherhood so bravely in language as Benno Barnard does in ‘Gebed zonder eind’ (Prayer without end).” ••••• Arie van den Berg in NRC Handelsblad.