The Last to Leave: Selected Poems

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Dirk van Bastelaere (born 1960) is regarded as one of the leading poets in Flanders. He came early to prominence with his first collection 'Vijf jaar' (Five Years, 1984), which was awarded the prize for the best first collection. In 1988 he published 'Pornschlegel en andere gedichten' (Pornschlegel and other poems), one of the most hotly debated collections of Flemish poetry in in recent times, and a volume that was to win for him recognition as the most important postmodern poet in Flanders. His work has been strongly influenced by American poets such as Gertrude Stein and John Ashbery and makes many references to contemporary art and culture, a fact which has led some critics to attack his work for its perceived intellectualism. The younger generation of Flemish poets, however, looks to him as mould-breaker. In 2000, the volume 'Hartswedervaren' (Happenings of the Heart) appeared, and is widely regarded as his finest book to date. This volume won the Flemish Culture Prize. Dirk van Bastelaere has also written essays on such philosophers as Lacan, Barthes and Kristeva. His latest collection, 'Zapruder Stress', will be published in Amsterdam in 2005. The translations are by Willem Groenewegen, John Irons and Francis R. Jones.