Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: REVELATION IN H&M by Menno Wigman, translated by David Colmer

She came to buy herself a brand-new face.
It seemed too dear. A frock would have to do.
            That got her in
a fitting room where she became psychotic.
Was it the light? Her skin? That ghostly face?

Like death had just molested her or worse,
that's how she felt, her lungs wrung dry of air.
             And thinking of death,
she numbly hung the frock back on the rack.
The registers gobbled money. Nothing broke.

Then in a flash of darkness they appeared,
the centuries before her birth, she grew
              so light and calm,
as calm as Barbie hair. Weia, weiala,
walla. She still had eyes. So she left.

By Menno Wigman

Translated by DAVID COLMER


From WINDOW-CLEANER SEES PAINTINGS
by Menno Wigman
Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
Published by Arc Publications (2016)


Menno Wigman was a Dutch poet, anthologist and translator, who became one of the most celebrated poets in the Netherlands. During his lifetime he published five poetry collections, compiled several anthologies and translated a large number of European poets, including Baudelaire, Rilke and Laske-Schüler. In 2013, he won the Awater Poetry Prize for the collection My Name is Legion, and was posthumously awarded the Ida Gerhardt Poëzieprijs in 2018.


David Colmer is an Australian translator, writer and editor who lives in Amsterdam. He has translated more than sixty book-length works of Dutch-language literature and has won a host of international prizes for his work.


Photo by Lisa Kalloo


Check out the Poetry Travels book list on bookshop.org.


Read previous poems from Poetry Travels:

*** (I WANT TO FOLD THIS DAY) by Inga Pizāne, translated by Jayde Will

THE SIEGE by Marcin Świetlicki, translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

FISH by Jana Putrle Srdić, translated by Barbara Jurša

THE WELL by Maarja Pärtna, translated by Jayde Will

THE SHADOW by Pentti Saarikoski, translated by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah

A FAREWELL TO MY DEAD CLASS by Irit Amiel, translated by Anna Blasiak and Marta Dziurosz

THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford

DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte

ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder

*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley

WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu

TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska

*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian Seed

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