English

Frank Keizer (1987) is a poet and writer based in Amsterdam. His most recent book Onder normale omstandigheden (Under Normal Circumstances) was published by Uitgeverij Polis in 2016. His writing has appeared in various Dutch and Flemish journals, as well as in Germany (Babelsprech) and Brazil (Modo de Usar). His poems have been translated into English, German and Portuguese. He works as an editor for the magazine nY.

Sample translations can be found below.

From Under normal circumstances (2016)

we say we
don’t need theory
but theory survives
theory seeps through
in mumbling
in hungry mouths
in sex and in vulnerability
vulnerability matters
it’s connection, it’s democracy and so
it’s no issue
no parliamentary representation is possible
no transformation
good stress and security are fashioned for me
in Bangladesh
not becoming more emancipated
but dumber, that is
failing without a hidden motive
because I try to imagine
what a repaired world would look like
and think of the bags of crisps and the national sentiment
of which I eat and I eat
until I throw up

as it was under normal circumstances
that I grew up
and in the years of crisis  that I became an adult
therefore my poetry is a poetry
of crisis
in which I have burst and write
with what remains
the mess I’m not cleaning up
but warming up
in my hands, my guts
and the network
that overheats
and reveals the less than sophisticated reality
of someone
who is twenty-seven in 2015
and doesn’t get to describe his reality

 

Clarity in my existence
during the long night, which bridges nothing.
Fearing I myself have obscured the world
I search for, having never learned
from my experiences in the Netherlands,
because she accepted me,
a man of the middle classes,
and has always done so.
And I accepted her.
With my rightful rage,
my awkwardness,
and my young body with organs.
Which I plundered
from my parent’s bodies,
and their parents before them.
They’ve become dispensable
and I am bewildered, without organization.

Translations my own

 

From Dear world, fuck off, I’m playing golf (2012)

1

Beginning the unbeginnable
work that is the world.
We find it already there. Therefore we are
fortunate. Someone is consuming
space, reels off a little rustling
counter-revolution
to the rhythm
of Trigion,
security experts
in Heerenveen.

2

Revival of an affect feared dead: I
scream.
As if privatization is only concerned with the sale of civil services
and not the subsumption of everything under that same heading.
The mere skin an idle thing, downgraded.

3

Because we want the world
free of distortion,
a there, a where
we belong.

4

The resolute autonomy of the poem
as an exercise of power
realized in exclusive residential quarters
in Dronten.
Poetry is friction,
I believe, and seeks out moments of tenderness,
anti-ontology
in the wideness of streets.
Happiness hurled onto lawns.
In lightly undulating terrain
the trenches are hacked out,
with which labour
we recompose
ourselves.

Translation: Willem Groenewegen

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