“How poetry imposes its own rules, is demonstrated unequivocally by the third collection of Rozalie Hirs (1965): [Speling] (Leeway). My free interpretation is that in these poems, what is at stake is the leeway between the word and its meaning, between meaning and sensation. […] The questions that are posed in the first poems are really the starting point of the poetry that follows. […] A poetry that is at times bizarre, and with the best will in the world cannot be explained rationally. In short, a very multifaceted poetry. Hirs alternates this kind of associative, unpredictable and at times bizarre poetry, that on more than one occasion is reminiscent of Astrid Lampe, with clear, transparent, but even so enigmatic poems such as ‘[vlinder]’ and ‘[Duchamp]’. A musical poetry, too. […] A beautiful poetry that does not yield easily, that repulses and beguiles, that fascinates more and more, that ends up refusing to release the reader.” (Edwin Fagel, De Recensent)

“The showpiece of the collection then is the ten-page long ‘[In LA]’, which can be read as a meditation on music and memory, and in which the words find themselves interspersed with a large amount of white space. The stuttering of the speaker, ‘d d d dead’, gives the words weight and renders the meditations forceful. This stream of thoughts constitutes not so much a poem as a score, and this is borne out by the fact that you can order it on CD with the poet. On it, Hirs has juxtaposed and superimposed the words polyphonically so that an orchestrated ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ emerges: sentences mingling at different volumes, so that the main speaker is hard to distinguish from background sounds. The care of this project does not lead to a metropolitan cacophony (as in L.A., say), but to an image of how things may happen within a speaker’s head. ‘LA’ is short for Louis Andriessen, whose utterances Hirs has collected and vocalized. It is a sober tribute to Andriessen’s beautiful, heavy words, and the chosen form lends this thinking-out-loud a buzzing hesitance that every speaker experiences when trying to find language for grand things. Here we experience simplicity.” (Johan Sonnenschein, Awater Poëzietijdschrift)

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