“But one might also see the poems of Rozalie Hirs as pebbles that have been polished by water – in the labor of polishing that is required to make them, and also in their simultaneously persistent and evanescent nature. Geluksbrenger is in more than one regard a faultless collection.” Edwin Fagel, De Recensent

Geluksbrenger is the name of this four part collection of Rozalie Hirs (Gouda, 1965) and reading it indeed brings happiness. Hirs, who knows how to work every subject, often jumps in perspective and technique… while unmistakably remaining Hirs!” Albert Hagenaars, NBD

“That’s how it should be in poetry: these poems cannot be brought under a common denominator. In their diversity, these poems are possibilities. Poems that undulate and flow. Water of poems.” Alain Delmotte, Poëzierapport

“A magnificent collection, rich in language and written with palpable joy.” Laurens Ham, Awater


1. poems from Geluksbrenger
1.1. Family Tree
1.2. Tumbler
1.3. Read all poems online

2. review of Geluksbrenger
2.1. Alain Delmotte: Returning home in a mill

2. digital poetry Geluksbrenger online
3.1. mobile
3.2. crystals
3.3. rorschach shapes
3.4. text appearance
3.5. halo
3.6. daily flying
3.7. lines
3.8. deconstruction
3.9. like water
3.10. sources, references

poems from Geluksbrenger

Family tree

Mother femme fatale raised from the mud father weeds grow everywhere
came with the spirit of mothermother butterfly of stories good for a lifetime
motherfather in blue jaguar conjured up sugar-coated Easter eggs motherbrother
four years old in pyjamas on the ferry across the IJ mothermothermother
died young mothermotherfather baritone women and drink his ruin
mothermotherfathermother dropped the cutting of the Overtoom in a sock
100 guilders savings dream at the foot of the bed motherfathersister
rejected as mad worn-out skivvy born 19 October 1919
motherfathersister presumed mothermother fathermother
suspected link between everything tractatus fatherfather writing letters
for the neighbourhood for cigars and a drink fathermothermother unmarried
without means of subsistence fathermother in flesh and blood rejected
in the name of the stone the fortune of his fathermotherfatherfather
first Netherlands paints manufacturer in Haarlem lost everything
on the gee gees drowned on his 19th birthday fatherfathermother
had 15 children the youngest of whom fatherfather
tree of life is it brought to life in music or in words?

(translation: Donald Gardner)


blissful state of residing below sea level or above
the clouds finding a dusty feather the bird and all

changes in the twilight comments disappear from the sun
shimmering with rain the weight the things more

or less is what we call life small white flowers that grow
between stones are there enough memories for a stream

of things compressed into a moment with this image
or feeling the grass that waves the reed sings and water only rustles

in the language of birds or whales and flows just as long
as the air around trees loses itself in time and lives

in memories uninvited evidence in the presence
of whales and birds through water smoothened pebbles

color where this is going that you live and know you will pass
as all meaning in the end your consciousness a short summer

(translation: Willem Groenewegen)


review of Geluksbrenger

Returning home in a mill (selection of the review translated into English)
Alain Delmotte, Poëzierapport, Belgium, 14 May 2009

The musical poetry of Geluksbrenger (Amsterdam: Querido, The Netherlands, 2008) by Rozalie Hirs is constructed along the line of a ‘counterpoint’. Within a poem, Hirs seems to be stacking different poems on top of each other, processing them, splicing them, mixing them, shaking them, letting them flow into one another. And this is one single motion. In one breath. In sustained breath. However composed and constructed her poems may be: the writing never feels artificial. Her poems desire. Her poems are blazing with exuberance, offering a large choice of possibilities. […]

Breathing is probably a key concept in this collection. Breathing is the first thing a human being does. His first confrontation with the world. The first word we spoke may have been an inhalation. (I regret that this word can’t be spelled. It’s not in the Van Dale dictionary either. But it bridges all the meanings of all the words that can be found in that sublime book.) With the concept of ‘breath’ she immediately indicates the mental boundaries of her poetical domain: thinking and feeling are both part of that. With breathing, language commences, with breathing it commences within a body. Caught up in thinking and feeling breath is no more than the tangible presence of a body (that always finds itself within the now, within the today) within one poem, one word, one sentence. […]

And the mill keeps turning many a poem long, the words keep on coming, the words are streaming. A stormy homecoming. Technically, she achieves this word-stream effect by eliding the punctuation marks (consistently every poem starts with a capital, surely a detail, but indicative of a striking meticulousness). Ever since Apollinaire this technique is an old trick but it works. Sentences seem to form bridges across each other, to overcome one another, to be ahead of each other, to inflate one another. This way poems appear that are chock full of anacolutha: a deconstructive stylistic device that is being used throughout the collection and that, as has been mentioned, keeps its effect of surprise.

Geluksbrenger is divided into four cycles, distinguishable from each other in their visual design, but stylistically connected by minimal repetitions and subtly recurring motives that are confronted with different contexts. The visual design changes gradually from cycle to cycle: one notes a shift from compact blocks of prose-like text to a typography that branches out all over the page, eventually coming back to density in the final poem of the last cycle – called, probably not by coincidence, ‘In één adem’, ‘In one breath’. Something has set the cycles structurally (and physically) in motion: it is as if, all through the collection, the poet has been inhaling deeply.

Thematically, something similar happens. The themes shift from the concrete to the abstract, from the particular to the cosmological: from a poem about a family tree to a poem about UB313 2003; from the insignificantly small to the quasi spiritual (the mystic Hadewijch appears in one of the texts.) In both cases this happens at the level of language and always with the sensitivity of fingertips. […]

Read full article [Nederlands]


digital poetry Geluksbrenger online

In 2006, visual artist/new media artist Harm van den Dorpel collaborated with Rozalie Hirs in the second installment of Poëzie op het Scherm (Poetry on Screen), an initiative by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. At the official presentation at De Waag, Amsterdam, May 17, 2006, Hirs and Van den Dorpel presented two interactive poetry applications: Stamboom (click the icon under the poem to open the digital app), and Tekstverschijning.

When the collection Geluksbrenger (Amsterdam: Querido, 2008), of which these two poems were part, was sold out, the duo decided to offer the entire collection online. Harm van den Dorpel chose to work within an html environment, within which he developed all programs for the applications by himself. On February 11, 2011, Geluksbrenger online was released with poems, recordings and music (listening spaces, spoken word, and musical pieces with text) by Rozalie Hirs, and interactive poetry applications developed by Harm van den Dorpel.

The interactive applications make the experience of reading, normally restricted to the page and the head of the reader, tangible and visible. As a reader, one makes choices over and over again while reading, thereby actually recreating the text as one reads, usually more than one realizes. Interactive applications and digital poetry can provide an insight into these interventions into, and recreations of, the text, and show something of the reading experience, or even the writing experience of the poet. Because of the diversity of applications that were developed, several different approaches and resulting apps are being mentioned here separately:

Example of a mobile moving with the movement of your mouse, generating pseudo-wind and pseudo-gravity
Stamboom (available in Mandarin, Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch, Swedish; including a listening room)

Examples of underlying crystal structures, based on the recurrences of words, made visible
Hadewijch (available in Dutch only)
Definitie (available in Dutch only; including a music composition)
Een wens (available in Dutch only)
Zon dezelfde kamer (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a music composition)

Rorschach shapes
Examples of Rorschach shape apps
Prologos (available in Spanish, English, French, Dutch; including a listening room)
Van wegen (available in Dutch only; including a listening room)
Kijker oog grijs (available in Dutch only)
Wereld van nu (available in German, French, Dutch)
Topologie (available in Dutch only)
Nachthart (available in Dutch only; including a listening room)
UB313 2003 (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a listening room)
Leven mogelijkheden (available in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch; including a music composition)
Vorm (available in Spanish, English, French, Dutch)

appearance and disappearance
A example of the appearance and disappearance of letters and text
Tekstverschijning (available in French, Dutch)

A halo that obscurs the actual object when pointing at it
Ziverdauw (available in English, French, Dutch)

daily flying
An example of daily flying

An examples of lines to write on or read from
Toen leerde ik (0-38 jaar)

An example of deconstruction applied by hand
Maken breken

like water
An example of a poem as a vessel filled, then emptied

Examples of quotations, references, sources
Gevonden voorwerpen