In I didn't know what the Dutch writer and poet Jan-Willem Anker zooms in on the senseless little adventures that shape the post-Christian and consumerist life of the Western male. This collection of prose poems is filled with mini conundrums, problems, ephemera or witticisms that look as though they could impart a narrative but choose to go down an unexpected trajectory. Jan-Willem’s texts pull short of the Borges labyrinths and enter a graceful lyrical world of complex moods and wisecracks. If they are poems of a philosopher they are also poems of a prankster, a kind of anecdotally clear-thinking Žižek. I didn’t know what is Anker’s first book in English.
Jan-Willem Anker wrote three collection of poetry in Dutch: Inzinkingen [‘Relapses’] in 2005, Donkere arena [‘Dark Arena’] in 2006, followed in 2009 by a small collection of love poems titled Wij zijn de laatste geliefden in de wereld [‘We Are the Last Lovers in the World’]. He has also been a programmer for Rotterdam’s Poetry International Festival. His work has been translated into French and German. In 2012 he published the historical novel Een beschaafde man (A Civil Man) based on the life of the notorious British art collector Lord Elgin.
Jan-Willem Anker, I didn't know what
80pp. 2012. ISBN 978 1 922181 01 5