Jan Baeke

Jan Baeke is a poet, digital poet, translator, editor and curator. In 1997 his first collection of poetry, entitled Nooit zonder de paarden (Never without the horses), was published. His fourth collection Groter dan de feiten (Larger than the facts), published in 2007, was nominated for the VSB Poetry Prize, the most prestigious poetry prize in the Netherlands. His latest collection, Seizoensroddel (Seasonal Gossip), was awarded the Jan Campert Prize 2017 for best poetry collection. A selection of poems from his first two collections appeared in an English translation, under the title Exercise against Time. He has translated poets including Liz Lochhead and Derek Walcott into Dutch. Jan is currently the curator and programmer for the Poetry International Foundation.



Photo: Keke Keukelaar


Breakfast at the Poetry Café: The Self »

Interrogating the "I" in poetry with Sara Hirsch, Jan Baeke, Esther Mijers and Luke Pell

Sat 10 March | 10:00 - 11:10 | £4.75/£3.75 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre

Past & Present »

Polly Atkin on Jane Cooper; Jan Baeke on H.H. ter Balkt

Fri 9 March | 14:15 - 15:15 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber


No Objection, No Sound Either

in memory of my mother, Gertrude Baeke-Van den Nobelen

I saw spring come and wondered
how we should embark on this
new, ever-recurring time.

I played a song that had fallen between us
and broke because we were arguing fiercely.

The sun had come back and the neighbours were puffing away
through the music.
Enough wind to blow a life clean.

I washed the clothes
that you’ll never wear again.

I saw you off, said goodbye to you
explained to you that the flowers and the visits
wanted to mean everything.
You made no objection, no sound either.

I went home to put it all in place
and to wait and see what the chairs and the bed
and the empty space in your coat
want to mean.


Jan Baeke, tr. Judith Wilkinson

Originally published in Dutch in Het tankstation op de route (2013)