Translator's notes

Stranded

By Ester Naomi Perquin

The poet and critic Rob Schouten characterises the tone of Esther Naomi Perquin’s first three collections as ‘polite oddity’. Formally, everything seems regular, even conventional, and there are no violent extremes of language or prosody. Sometimes extra resonance is added by the use of occasional rhyme:

We slept restless, unable to think.

Now there’s talk here of Gods
and fables – who knows where it is.

Strange tracks lead down to the drink. ( ‘Stranded’ )

However, in most poems a disturbing quirkiness and hesitancy of the poetic voice subverts the surface serenity, and grabs the attention. Even what is apparently strident is given an edge of grim humour by its very overstatement.

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