Articles taggés avec: Sjoerd van Hoorn

Love, loss and language - About the poetry of Amina Saïd Hazam

Ecrit par Sjoerd van Hoorn , le Vendredi, 22 Janvier 2016. , dans La Une CED, Les Chroniques


Ablation, Amina Saïd Hazam, Éd. Alpha, Alger, 2014, 53 pages in French, 81 in Arabic


Amina Saïd Hazam is a French poet of Algerian descent who writes in both French and Arabic. Since I do not read Arabic I shall discuss only her French poems. The collection under review here, entitled Ablation, contains absolute masterpieces that deserve a wide audience. The influence of the Algerian poet Kateb Yacine is clear, Hazam too writes about a physical attachment to earth, language and blood. It is precisely this local rootedness and its loss which makes poetry’s voice amenable to be understood everywhere. Notwithstanding that most of Hazam’s poems involve all manner of loss, almost all of them are essentially about love too. The I of these poems is acutely aware of every shade of loss, of the loss of what has sometimes literally been cut away. The first poem in the collection is Hymne à un sein. The mother’s breast that has fed the poet is now a peaceful bird that has been cut away, thus leaving the poet without a country. The mother’s breast is a symbol of the very intimate connection between love and loss that characterizes Ablation as a whole.

Hunger for writing - On Séverine Danflous’ "Écrire la faim"

Ecrit par Sjoerd van Hoorn , le Samedi, 09 Janvier 2016. , dans La Une Livres, Les Livres, Critiques, L'Harmattan

Écrire la faim : Franz Kafka, Primo Levi, Paul Auster, 216 pp., 22 € . Ecrivain(s): Séverine Danflous Edition: L'Harmattan

Écrire la faim : Franz Kafka, Primo Levi, Paul Auster, Séverine Danflous, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2014, 216 pp., 22 €


A Dutch advocate of some fame in his own country, Max Moskowicz, survived Auschwitz. He once talked about the hunger he suffered from in the camp. « Let me tell you », he said, « that sexual desire is as nothing if compared to real hunger ». Primo Levi went through a comparable experience in the same place. In Se questo è un uomo he describes how the inmates of the camp were consumed by hunger, how it devoured their souls as well as marking their bodies.

Hunger has also been a literary motif, not least in the twentieth century. Before Levi wrote up his suffering in the concentration camp, Franz Kafka depicted a hunger artist (ein Hungerkünstler) in his eponymous story. The hunger artist is a man locked up in a cage, exhibited to the public who gape at a man who performs is abstention from food. The hunger artist goes without food for weeks, showing off his protruding ribs and hollowed-out cheeks, almost as trophies of an accomplishment. Kafka’s story has been read as  satire on the writer’s condition. The hunger artist is the poor writer who suffers voluntarily, isn’t noticed and dies. There is some reason in this reading, as the story first sentence testifies « In den letzten Jahrzehnten ist das Interesse an Hungerkünstlern sehr zurückgegangen » [1]

Marjolijn van Heemstra

Ecrit par Sjoerd van Hoorn , le Jeudi, 12 Mars 2015. , dans La Une CED, Les Chroniques


The Dutch poet Marjolijn van Heemstra concerns herself with change. Her latest collection Meer hoef dan voet (Hoof rather than foot) explores deep change, geological time and the ways in which it makes itself felt for us. Van Heemstra’s theme is the troubled unity of all life. Her work goes into the deep layers of our being. Van Heemstra takes the marrow in our bones and shows us the mineral sediments we are made of. Marjolijn van Heemstra’s imagination contains the troubled existence of her ill neighbour and the moot existence of God. In her first collection Als Mozes had doorgevraagd (If Moses had kept asking questions) one finds the lines, referring to the God of Abraham and Moses :


As long as you do not open up I keep

my feet on the ground, my arms around the child.

You won’t fib me off with a bramble-bush

or an ‘I am who I am’, a tiny flame or a thundering voice.

Nor do blackbirds ...

Ecrit par Sjoerd van Hoorn , le Samedi, 07 Mars 2015. , dans La Une CED, Ecriture, Création poétique


Nor do blackbirds in the afternoon always know,

But they have feathers,

quick eyes,

are at home on the soil, that does not forget


perhaps, or else I do not know


why they are at home in the breath

of forgetfulness’ undergrowth,

in rain, in rocks that have forgotten

why they aren’t a river anymore ;

How not to argue against hedonism – Jonathan Sturel’s La contre-histoire de Michel Onfray (version anglaise)

Ecrit par Sjoerd van Hoorn , le Vendredi, 23 Janvier 2015. , dans La Une CED, Les Chroniques, Côté Philo


There may be such a thing as the tone of the right (not to be mistaken for the right tone); its characteristics are anger, indignation, a measure of sanctimoniousness. The tone of the right is a travesty of victimhood. Having found that the downtrodden of the earth made legitimate claims to rights, the right have concluded that legitimacy resides in a show of being hounded down. The primus inter pares of the indignant right is the English writer Roger Scruton, who despite having held professorships at virtually every university of any name in the Anglophone world constantly presents himself as the underdog par excellence in British academia. In France of course things are not as different as perhaps they once were. One need not mention Éric Zemmour to see that the right in France too, so to speak, likes to be the black party in a chess game – it is always the other who started it. Now one of their party, the journalist Jonathan Sturel, has written a book against a figure who likes to think of himself as just a little less controversial than Zemmour himself, namely the soi-disant hedonist Michel Onfray. Sturel requires a 240-page pamphlet to get across the relatively simple idea that Onfray is a fake radical.