THE FIRST POEM FOUND
Anonymous, from 14th century Dutch
translation by Hans Plomp
All things close me in-
I am so wide.
For the uncreated
have I reached
I have found it!
It has opened me
wider than wide.
All else is too narrow
You know it who are there as well.
Hans Plomp debuted in 1968 with De ondertrouw, a key novel about his friendship with Gerard Reve and Johan Polak, but was only really known by The Amsterdam Death Booklet (1970). In the same year, he published with Peter Andriesse, Lord Heeresma, and George Kool a Manifesto of the Seventies, in which the group is opposed to established authors and against by them as New gibberish, rejected experimental literature.
In his twenties, Plomp began experimenting with LSD and other mind-expanding resources; later he – along with Gerben Hellinga – wrote the ‘drugs’ manual Uit Je Bol (1994). Together they also led the resistance of Amsterdam artists against the demolition of the village of Ruigoord. In July 1973 they managed to prevent demolition contractors from breaking down the village and that same day the demolition permit was withdrawn. Plomp lived for years in Ruigoord in a house that has since been demolished. Nowadays, Ruigoord is a thriving artists’ community, where he has a studio.
Together with visual artists Aat Veldhoen and Frank Lodeizen he created monumental publications such as The Art of Dying and NOW. In addition to his work as a writer and poet, Plomp compiled bundles and he has been active as a translator. He translated books by, among others, James Purdy, George Steiner, and Amos Tutuola.
For years he has been organizing the multi-day literary festival Vurige Tongen and the illustrious Landjuweel at Ruigoord. He plays an important role in the annual Paradiso event of the Amsterdam Ballon Company the so-called Balloon Party.
A selection of 50 years of poetry was published in 2017, This is the Best of All Times.