On Thursday, March 28, 2024, an interview entitled ‘The Reader is also a Maker’ by Cora de Vos with poet Rozalie Hirs is published in Meander Magazine. Below are a few quotes. Read the entire interview on Meander Magazine [Dutch only].

About ecologica (Uitgeverij Vleugels, 2023):

ecologica, and perhaps all my work, is about the invisible, vulnerable, forgotten. […] The collection was created during the pandemic out of concern for the world and nature, but also out of love for language and simply from a pure urge to create. The poetry of ecologica celebrates nature in all its diversity. But it also names worries and grief about crises in nature caused by humans. In ecologica, various (in the Netherlands or the world) endangered or protected animal species, plant species, and ecosystems are featured. I marvel and wonder at these species and the ingenious ecological systems that different animals and plants form together. At the same time, I experience language also as an ecological system and thank ecologica for the joy during its creation and discovery of its language. During the transformation of worries, pain, and sorrow into something new, something of beauty and attention.”

About the dagtekening van liefdesvormen (Uitgeverij Querido, 2024):

“The underlying idea [of the new book] is that we our experiences and memories together form a large network that continually reshapes our personality and view of the world. These memories blend into each other and are constantly rearranged. There’s something democratic about my poetry collection: all memories count towards our becoming.”

“The year 2024 is the year of publication of the collection with fifty-nine poems that describe or evoke moments of love, one for each year of my life so far. These relatively simple poems all fit on one page. […] For all the poems in the collection, there could be a photo I made at that particular place and year, but the poetry collection is not a picture book in the ordinary sense. Here, the poems themselves are the pictures, the daily markings, forms of love.”

About my ‘rhythm of meaning’, and ‘speech melody’:

“Being active as a composer and a poet, I frequently receive questions about the relationship and the differences between music and poetry. The biggest difference between poetry and music is that within poetry, we work with an existing language: words refer to meaning, and you deal with a grammar that places the words in context. For me as a poet, the meaning of words is always leading. I call the rhythm between meanings within a poem ‘the rhythm of meaning’, an alternation of tension, release, and silence in the stream of meaning within a poem. Additionally, I have developed a style of recitation that emphasizes the intrinsic ‘speech melody’ of the language, but at the same time is unique to my voice. This ‘speech melody’ influences the poem in its coming about, is really formative during its creation. In search of an optimal balance between form and content, the poem is created with a particular speech melody, rhythm of meaning, assonance, tone, atmosphere, etc. The poems on paper are comparable to a score, which you interpret while reading. You make choices between a multitude of reading possibilities. You are the performer of the poem in time, just like a musician is with music. As a reader, you are also a bit of a creator.”

Read the full interview at the online Meander Magazine.

For more explanation about ‘rhythm of meaning’ and ‘speech melody’, see the essay ‘Rhythm of Meaning and Speech Melody – How Music Appears in My Poetry’, Dossier Poetry and Music, Poëziekrant, Ghent, Belgium, 2023-6 (pp. 62-66), December 2023 [Dutch only].