Deze foto hoort bij het eerste artikel over James Brockway, maar het lukte me niet om de foto bij dat stuk te krijgen. Wat heeft James een vreemde das om..! En wat een pretoogjes. En aan de tea uiteraard, met schijfjes citroen.
Hier nog een obituary over James Brockway, die 15 december 2000 overleed:
James BrockwayAs a poet and translator, he brought Dutch verse to English audiences and English novels to the Dutch
Tuesday January 2, 2001The Guardian
The poet James Brockway, who has died aged 84, submerged his talent under translations of English novels into Dutch and Dutch poetry into English. It was with a rueful pride that he recounted how a bibliographer traced more than 700 placings of his translations of Dutch poetry in English-language magazines.
The latest of these, which gave him a boost of pleasure in his final weeks, was in the Hudson Review, of his translation of Wolves, by Patty Scholten. She was a recent interest of Jim's, and he enjoyed conveying into English her alliterative sonnets about pumas, baboons and other creatures, the results of a life-long association with Amsterdam Zoo. Just a few weeks before his death he received the fruits of his labours, Patty Scholten's Elephants In Love And Other Poems, in a fine edition by Alan Ross of the London Magazine.
Jim was the youngest son of a Birmingham industrialist. In 1935, he took a civil service job in London, and, in 1940, joined the Royal Air Force, travelling to Egypt, India and the Far East, and ending up as a flight lieutenant.
The major change in his life came in 1946, when he left homophobic Britain for Holland, where he had friends and could "live life my way at last". A long companionship with a man 20 years his senior gave Jim the stability he needed to write and to begin translating.
Dutch versions of the novels of Alan Sillitoe, Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch appeared, as well as critical essays on trends in English writing. Meanwhile, he put together his first collection of his own poems, No Summer Song (1949).
But it was translations from his adopted to his native tongue that brought him the recognition he desired. His translations of Rutger Kopland appeared in the early 1980s in Stand magazine, and then as a selection of 10 poems in The Prospect And The River. That was followed by 57 translations of Kopland's poetry in A World Beyond Myself (1991) and Singers Behind Glass (1995), was a selection of eight modern Dutch poets.
In Holland, there were publicatons of Jim's translations from the poet Maria Vasalis and the male Frisian poet, Tsjebbe Hettinga. For his achievements in promoting Dutch literature abroad, in 1966 he received the prestigious Martinus Nijhoff Prize and in 1997 - "to my genuine surprise" - a Netherlands knighthood. In 1990, he took up English poetry again.
It was during the preparation of his collection, A Way Of Getting Through (1995), that I first met "Sir Jim". He was a small, slight, charming man, always wondering how it might have been had he lived on in England after 1946. When he learned that I lived in the Hertfordshire town of Ware, he asked if I thought he could live there. Later, I learned of similar conversations with friends from Devon and Oxfordshire.
Yet he was happy in his apartment in one of the quiet northern suburbs of the Hague, cared for by a small circle of close friends, Dutch, English and Australian. His partner Bram predeceased him, 13 years ago.
It was in the Hague that I saw him last, on a cold, slightly damp day in November, when I took him copies of his latest Rockingham collection, The Brightness In Between. He was pleased that a book of his own poems had been praised by Rutger Kopland. But our conversation, like many of his final poems, like The Brightness In Between, turned mainly on the past: "We are not the single selves we think we are./Nor have we ever been those shadows/moving among shades in other people's minds./We lack all true identity./Yet how we loved each other, you and I,/who lacked all true identity./Come from dust and on our slow way back/to dust, but ah, the brightness in between."
• Tim Heath writes: James Brockway's vocation as a poet grew out of his love for the Netherlands; in the words of a title to one of his poems: "God made the World but the Dutch made Holland". But it was by luck that he received an invitation from friends to their family home in the Hague. In this "magical" house, he set to work on a literary career in a land that had been turned into a German prison camp and whose people longed to break out into the world of culture.
Brockway enjoyed the sport of placing his translations into England's "little" magazines for 50 years; there was little money, and frequent rejections, yet each success was akin to a sexual conquest.
His own early writing had been the target of wartime bombing, but the editor of the Adelphi, John Middleton Murray, asked to see some of his poems. Brockway's work soon appeared in the Poetry Review under Muriel Spark's editorship and in the London Magazine, under John Lehmann and later Alan Ross.
Yet after No Summer Song's publication in 1949, there was to be a gap of 46 years before his second collection. "An entry for the Guiness Book Of Records," he would quip, yet this silence curiously marked out the period of the great love in his life while the translation work continued to flow.
In Hans Lodeizen, Maria Vasalis (a pseudonym for Margaretha Droogleever Fortuyn) and Rutger Kopland, Brockway was responsible for translating three great Dutch poets. With Lodeizen, he learnt an important lesson - to know when a poem is beyond translation. With Vasalis, the process of translation revealed a grammar of love. A full stop inserted in the middle of a sentence can transform a poem and begin a friendship. Translation requires an unusual intelligence, and Brockway met his equal in the spirit of this beautiful and underpublished woman.
Kopland, a professor of psychiatry, reawakened Brockway's voice. Late night telephone calls, struggling together in his garden at the end of a busy week, they advanced line by line as Kopland focused his scientific curiosity on the minute processes of creation. In contrast, Brockway grew less explicit in his own writing, making the reader work harder, and in 1995 his second book of poetry was published: A Way Of Getting Through.
Brockway once wrote: "Discontent leans on the air with giant hands." Yet he himself was a man of disciplined joy - "there was a duty to be happy". He was not a poet of universal themes, but found truth in the particular, moments of psychological insight best caught in poetry. He took pleasure in beautiful things: in paper, type and handmade books. And artists.
• James Brockway, poet, translator and critic, born October 21 1916; died December 15 2000.