Against the Forgetting: Selected Poems


A stunning selection of poems from the great twentieth-century Dutch poet.Against the Forgetting presents the work of an important twentieth-century Dutch poet, Hans Faverey. The first extensive selection of his poetry in English, this collection brings together poems from his eight published volumes of poetry spanning the years 1968 to 1990—the last volume, Default, he received only two days before his death. In addition, a selection of poems from a posthumous collection, Spring Foxes, first published in Holland...

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A stunning selection of poems from the great twentieth-century Dutch poet.Against the Forgetting presents the work of an important twentieth-century Dutch poet, Hans Faverey. The first extensive selection of his poetry in English, this collection brings together poems from his eight published volumes of poetry spanning the years 1968 to 1990—the last volume, Default, he received only two days before his death. In addition, a selection of poems from a posthumous collection, Spring Foxes, first published in Holland in 2000, is also included. The translator Francis Jones writes, "Hans Faverey left behind a poetic structure of uniquely subtle richness and beauty, made from so little—a few words, surrounded by silence." Filled with a precision and arresting musicality comparable to the hermetic poems of Celan and Bronk, and as mysterious as the writings of Heraclitus and the German mystic Meister Eckhart, Faverey's poems, like Lichtenberg's lightning frozen in time, lash out, splintering systems and syntax—enlightening.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811215558
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/19/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Faverey (1933-1990) was born in Paramaribo, Surinam and moved to Amsterdam when he was a child. He worked as a clinical psychologist at the University of Leiden and received many literary awards, including the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his work as a whole.

Francis R. Jones lectures in English and applied linguistics at the University of Newcastle. Among his other translations are Ivan V. Lalic's The Works of Love, The Passionate Measure (for which he was awarded the 1991 European Poetry Translation Prize), and The Rusty Needle; Vyacheslav Kupriyanov's In Anyone's Tongue; and Vosko Popa's Complete Poems (with the late Anne Pennington).

Eliot Weinberger (b. NYC, 1949), is an essayist and translator. He won PEN’s first Gregory Kolovakos Award for promoting Hispanic literature in the US, and he is America’s first literary writer to receive Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle. He lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt



A New Directions Book

Copyright © 2004 Lela Zeckovic-Faverey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8112-1555-5

Chapter One

from Poems (Gedichten) 1968

* * *


under construction, demolition under construction. 'Emptiness,

so stately on her stem'; land in sight, blindfold.

* * *

No metaphor

intervenes here. The match, in

accordance with orders, communicated, burning.

* * *

The evacuated air-lock

(till someone's brains, lungs, liver, spleen no longer acknowledge him;

no longer have knowledge of him.)

* * *

A leak in the silence: noise -.

What codes? what filters? (The 1st grape: splat! The 2nd grape: splat!

The th-

* * *

So this man bows

to where nothing is; picks up the rope,

rolls up the rope, blows away the letters

and goes away himself.

* * *

The unbutterfly - the

grey, speckled one - was here.

One of the gifts: a gadget for sucking the time

from things, from organisms.

The other gift is best left unmentioned.

* * *


of the clotted; insectoid movements; selection tests

with semantic double filters -. There is still communication, but of the type that

bites its tail and drives its tail-sting straight through its head.

Chapter Two

from Poems 2 (Gedichten 2) 1972

Cycle for the Thin Girl I

* * *

Shouldn't we be leaving here?

Everything's getting overexposed. Here it already has a different name and doesn't smell of much.

Or should we stay here.

Should you want to stay here.

* * *

Distance. What does distance matter;

how does distance work. Can it even unwind a man, then wind him up again?

Of course it's the principle that counts,

if there's a principle that counts.

* * *

What direction's it coming from?

The same direction. And are the other data correct? As far as one can tell.

What do you think you'll do now?

Whatever will you do now.

* * *

The end? No. Almost

the end? No. But what do you mean by no: - salt as well?

Can you hear me: salt as well? Yes. Salt as well? Yes, salt.

* * *

Or should we stay here:

should I want to stay here. When the upper lip is lifted the teeth feel cold.

When both lips are gone,

your teeth feel colder still.

* * *

3 in the morning, 4 at night;

okay?). Parting from a series of shapes; precisely what is silting up inside you, you do not know.

Round skull, angular teeth.

Your sun won't shine long enough now.

* * *

Old rain; new rain.

Prendre la balle au bond or missing it. Fur, from a fox's armpit; stealing a clock,

and keeping your ears shut.

Dashing the egg against the stone.


Excerpted from AGAINST THE FORGETTING by HANS FAVEREY Copyright © 2004 by Lela Zeckovic-Faverey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Standstill 3
No metaphor 4
The evacuated air-lock 5
A leak in the silence: noise- 6
So this man bows 7
The unbutterfly - the 8
Dominance 9
Shouldn't we be leaving here? 13
Distance, What does distance matter 14
What direction's it coming from? 15
The end? No, Almost 16
Or should we stay here 17
3 in the morning, 4 at night 18
Old rain; new rain 19
(Can you still hear me?) 20
Pelican to the 21
Emptying one's head 25
Nothing is wiped out as fast 26
When the time comes 27
I sit in my circle 28
Smoke from the smokehole 29
Now the hour is standing still 30
Why? Because I am sitting 31
He who cannot wait for the unhoped-for 32
Mir nix: dir nix 33
Maybe only much later 34
Did this man here have 35
Same old river landscape 36
As far as the eye can see 37
In seed and crystal 38
First the message kills 39
The chrysanthemums 40
Only when someone in a photo 41
If I want to do something 42
If it brings anything about 43
Little by little - 44
Flash of darkening 47
I have forgotten what I 48
'You're making me into something I'm not 49
Having been lying on one's left side 50
That you never existed 51
Where she now is, now 52
As soon as it looks at itself 53
It's clearer now in my head 54
She stoops 55
Lightfall 56
Murmur, preceding 57
Behind the light, deeds are dead 58
So is it a dream after all 59
It won't be long now before 60
Or, by lingering 61
Open, unrecognizable 62
Where the apricot tree 63
It is snowing 64
This is the penalty 65
When there is nothing left 66
Oblivion knows no time 67
If only I were who I have remained 71
Forcing into oneself and 72
The summer has grown old 73
Lisping of sometimes silken chains 74
A ball is at rest, or it is 75
The earth, being earthwork 76
What is of fire falls to no other share 77
Default of wind 78
The same riverbank, mine 79
Captured in his own net 80
An angler fish does nothing other 81
Changing fortunes of war: eclipse 82
The same net, hung out to dry 83
The pond lies inside the lake 84
The chestnut is eating out of my palm 85
Inside the palm-nut lies a fish 86
On the strength of what's no longer here 87
So I start up anew as of old 88
Down, till nothing remains of 89
If grief, as foreseen, comes to a dead 90
In one of those early evenings 91
What happens when, in the depths 92
What gives rise to the certainty 93
Now it is here 94
Now I, walking backwards 95
It is not yet now 96
Inhospitable facts no longer serving 97
When: what you see is there no more 98
An early evening as it should be 99
Ever more of the same 100
Nothing comes to be 101
What the west wind left her with 102
How is nothings itself 103
Following the river upstream 104
Only when all has been ordered 105
Something like a desert of his own 106
My aquarium houses as many liters 107
Why is it like this; and when 108
In the end I let you bathe in light 109
Towards the end the cut withstands 110
The vase 113
The notion that my body 114
'My love, the hart of time 115
The fragile, the disquieting 116
This is how I goes under 117
Shearing along 118
The muffled thud with which the strange cat 119
'Although I am a swallow 120
Extremely slowly the snail 121
What it is all about 122
The night is mortal 123
It has been thundering 124
One of my hands rises 125
I suddenly turn round 126
I fill my lungs and enter 127
If the opening were forever 128
Although is is forever 129
More fleeting than my shadow is 130
Everything existing stretches 131
To be able to lash out 135
As soon as I raise my eyes 136
Why did she not stay where she is 137
Beating his lead with the blunt 138
As a woman might 139
There is not much else than here 140
Night escapes its shades of dawn 141
The eyes which grant 142
Is the same not good enough then 143
Its only riddle: how 144
How come the unmoving 145
The angel leans further and further 146
Time and again I have to love you 147
Spring, it must be, Persephone 148
On its ever so tricky thread 151
On a hiding to nothing 152
Doesn't the shadowy rose 153
Letting a night train 154
Shortly before it is too late 155
Casting all caution aside 156
The way a man stands in his garden 157
The train scarcely slackens speed 158
She has let herself fall on her bed 159
Seldom has a panther's leap 160
To stare without desire, with no 161
As simple as a drop of water 165
Nowhere has denying 166
Yesterday, yes, I still existed here 167
With one hand in my lap 168
Since nobody was there anyway 169
One fine day it was night 170
If later, or sooner, it is 171
'Then they went away too,' 172
Translator's Notes 173
Index of First Lines 175
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Weinberger, Eliot
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