© Koen Broos
The work of Flemish poet Paul Bogaert (1968) has been published for decades. His collections deal with the business that is human life and the bureaucracy involved. This year saw the release of his sixth collection Zo kan het niet langer (It Can’t Go On Like This) (Polis, 2018), which fits in perfectly with this. This is, as the blurb states, “a collection full of escape routes for the modern person.” Once again, a mirror is held in front of us in a friendly way. Boegaert was nominated for the most prestigious poetry prize in the Netherlands, the VSB Poetry Prize, in 2010, and he won the triannual Flemish Culture Prize for Poetry in 2011.
“It is fascinating how Paul Bogaert, who lets the threat be felt in many poems, generally keeps it beneath the surface using sharp irony. Similar to how society works. He conceals things, just like society, with its unspoken formulations, as described in the final poem: ‘Sluit af met/ ik meen u hiermee voldoende te hebben geïnformeerd/ Ga langs de achterdeur. Die valt/ vanzelf in het slot.’ (Let’s end here/I think I have told you enough/Go to the back door. It locks/itself.)” **** Paul Demets in De Morgen.