Rozalie Hirs

Logos digital

Download Logos digital for [Mac]

Halfway into the writing process of the poems of Logos (Amsterdam: Querido, 2002), the frequent appearance of body parts, colors and numbers became apparent. The poet decided to include an anatomical map within the collection, by which the reader might navigate through the book as if it were a body. The artist Noëlle von Eugen was invited to create this map. Along with the body parts, von Eugen listed abbreviations for the titles of all the poems in which that body part appears.

Since the anatomical map in fact functions as a hyper structure of the collection, it became a natural next step to present the entire collection online as well. Matt Lee programmed the site in Flash and presented the Logos website in September 2003. By following hyperlinks on the anatomical map, and within the poems, the reader can navigate directly to the poems in which the body part in question appears, and also jump from poem to poem.

The website is available now as an autonomous app [on Mac OsX] through the above download link.


Panel on words and music in choral art

Tenso Chamber Choir logoDuring the Tenso Conference on 23 and 24 January 2017 Rozalie Hirs is one of the panelists on a debate on words and music in choral art. Possible questions could include: which are the challenges a writer faces when his or her texts are – or would be – used in choral music? How can a composer treat texts in a setting for more voices?

The conference is organized by Tenso, the European network for professional choirs, in collaboration with Philharmonie de Paris. Paris, France, and Le Biennale d’Art Vocal. It is part of the project From Poetry to Music, initiated by Tenso in 2014.

Date: 2017-01-23
Location: Philharmonie de Paris, Paris, France
The Conference is organized by Tenso in collaboration with Philharmonie de Paris and Le Biennale d' Art Vocal, as part of the project From Poetry to Music.

TENSO Meeting 2017

Rozalie Hirs: Words and Music

Introduction: Love for music, poetry, science, technology, for learning

Chemical Engineering (Twente University, MSc)
Music Composition (Royal Conservatoire, MMus; Columbia University, DMA)

The creative process
A maker, making things
Dialogue, feedback, change

The reading experience, the listening experience, the senses, perception

Mathematics, algorithms, functions

Sung words: vocal music

Arbre généalogique (2011)
Rozalie Hirs (music, poem)
Music composition for soprano, ensemble, and electronic sounds, based on the poem ‘Stamboom’. World premiere by Susan Narucki (soprano), Pierre-André Valade (conductor), Asko|Schönberg.
PROMS, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10 November 2011, 20:15.
Commissioned by Asko|Schönberg, with financial support by Fonds Podiumkunsten.

Family Tree app (2006), a digital poem, in collaboration with new media artist Harm van den Dorpel

Family tree

mother femme fatale pulled from the mud father weeds grow everywhere
brought the spirit from mothermother butterfly of tales worth a lifetime
motherfather in blue jaguar sugar-coated easter eggs of magic motherbrother
four years old ferried in pyjamas across the river IJ mothermothermother
died young mothermotherfather baritone undone by women and drink
mothermotherfathermother threw the digging of the Overtoom in a sock
100 saved guilders dream at the foot of the bed motherfathersister
cast away household drudge dismissed as mad born 19 October 1919
motherfathersister alleged mothermother fathermother imagined link
between everything tractatus fatherfather for cigars and a drink
neighbourhood letter writer fathermothermother unmarried without means
fathermotherfather in flesh and blood repudiated in the name of the stone
the fortune from his fathermotherfatherfather first paint manufacturer
in the netherlands established in haarlem gambled away on horses drowned
his 19th birthday fatherfathermother had 15 children of whom the youngest
fatherfather living tree brings to life music or is it words?

(translation: Ko Kooman)

Poetry and music hybrids

In LA (2010)
Electroacoustic composition by Rozalie Hirs with poetry by the composer/poet. Performed by Arnold Marinissen (voice).
In LA (2003, Dutch version) was composed as a portrait of the composer Louis Andriessen and is dedicated to him. The text is based on an interview with Andriessen that Hirs conducted in 2003 inquiring after his first memories. In 2010 Hirs translated the piece into English.

In LA (2003, 2010) is inspired by the psychoacoustic ‘cocktail party effect’, which was taken as a metaphor for the act of remembering, for ‘hearing’ a particular stream of memories within a cacophony of competing memories during its emergence into consciousness.

In LA is the second track on the portrait CD ‘Pulsars’ (Amsterdam: Attacca Productions, 2010) of Rozalie Hirs, featuring her electroacoustic compositions and her poetry.

All rights reserved ©2003, 2010 Rozalie Hirs ©2010 Attacca Productions.

Bridge of Babel (2009)
Bridge Of Babel (2009) is an electroacoustic composition by Rozalie Hirs (music, poetry, voice). A trip around the world in twenty languages. For the collage poem Rozalie Hirs quotes thirty-five poets from all over the world. The composition sets out in the Netherlands, travels through France and Germany, through Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, through Australia, Southern America, across Iceland to Scandinavia. We hear the poet’s voice (trying to) speak in different tongues. The electronic sounds are synthesized with help of CSound software.

Bridge of Babel (2009) was released by Attacca Productions as part of Rozalie Hirs’ portrait CD ‘Pulsars’ in 2010. All rights reserved (music, text) ©2009 Rozalie Hirs, ©2010 Attacca Productions

Hyperlyricism & relay reading

Rozalie Hirs: who put on my shoes

there look at those wild-strawberry leaves purring a little
cat between thorns where a tree shakes its swaying antlers
by skeletal islands dry-as-dust wind
swift cuts a tail into two points punt drifts
riverbanks to my right-as-rain roses on hairpin legs
toes with thoughts and tongue in cheek clacking
the buds burst out of their husks happy to be alive I am
daybreak lilac when its bursting spray allows
and birch bark curls dance in wind


grass verges the edge of a field in marram grass peeled
gooseberries clover there leafage theft leaves its trees autumnal
a leggy horse runs in circles like a daft thing dances
through parched fields pulls out plough and root
drowns where boat strikes land with sail mast
along the path spotted woodpeckers wave for fourteen years
I wept come now come then stubbled morning
as we arrive at snowdrops lady’s mantle meadows
water green lilies whitish pearling earth


crazy about figs and lilies birds dipping
in a lake where sunlight blazes and screeching wind consumes earth
with rapidly scooped paper lightning-quick swept-up clouds
airy meadows white cut I came over light hills
and met with death who put on my shoes
in spring frost I walked off on bare feet
among evergreen pine groves through mudflats
waded through the tide to the sea bellying to my calves
remnants from ice aged wrinkled branch crackling
flower its buds letters bursting open seize the day
the night and endless waterways gleaming ribbons
through fields with nettles at my feet


that morning hoar frost so buds and buds the milky white sun
on roof tiles dancing rain along free ranging field path
caressed head and cheekbone olive branches
cradle ash tree branches then I leap with eiderdown out of bed
drink magnified water squamous dream bits
lost on air float down a path where coltsfoot hops
with trotting hoof prints I plant midnight feet
in the pale grey field covered with powdery snow
beside little duckweed boats adrift on the mire


with pomegranate leaves their scarlet hairs
I see loosestrife rooting through fields
weeds cuttings of horsetails a land full of may
moisten earth to sow spring ask mountains the time
not to be spun fine pale yellow plumed thistles not to come too close
pods float in ditches reflect white elderberry sprays
a smell wrapped in jasmine hats lost on air
speckled mossy green climb with daisy stalks
ladders along hair pupating into peacock butterflies


as if I could hear light falling through walls in a village
of trees reveal themselves an entire road close by
blossoming I entrusted water lilies and lotus
blindly to water in blazing sunlight first tines
follow limbs driven by wind directions ships
of bark murmuring pebbles in the beck roll slowly
towards dune rumbling past hovels grief charmed early floored
marsh flowers of hand-shaped parted leaves
I weave starry wreaths calyxes to drink from


in knuckles little daggers of burning larch needles
always stab red staggered tortoiseshells springing where
hogweed grows beside pale birch bark bees zoom
the moon its antics see flagellates springing nightingale
then I eat belladonna slimy frogs legs hop
in curling beck between the script of tiny scots pines
bellowing sea joy billowing honey streams of cotton grass
bones of verge grass batter against a hill beacons
in the distance ships understand mirroring each other to shards

©2012 Rozalie Hirs (translation: Donald Gardner)

Digital Poetry


Rozalie Hirs: <em>Geluksbrenger</em> (<em>Lucky Charm</em>; Amsterdam: Querido, 2008)” width=”300″ height=”250″ class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-882″ /></a></p>
<p><a href=Geluksbrenger online (2008)
In collaboration with new media artist Harm van den Dorpel

More info on the digital poetry of Geluksbrenger/ Lucky Charm

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
An 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

Work in stuttering
Rozalie Hirs: gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012)

Sightbook (2013)
in collaboration with graphic designers Ines Cox & Lauren Grusenmeyer

The Belgian duo, Cox & Grusenmeyer, designers and visual artists, created six online personas for six poems or cycles from the collection gestamelde werken (work in stuttering; Amsterdam: Querido, 2012), by Rozalie Hirs. They let these six characters – or alter egos, as they call them – come alive on six different social networks. In choosing the poems, Cox & Grusenmeyer took their own reading experience as a starting point, their encounter with the poem in question. What does the poem speak of? How does it appear? How does it show itself? Does it speak slowly, quickly, loudly, in a singsong, awkwardly? Is it neutral in tone, aggressive, longing, lyrical or seductive? They chose very diverse poems or cycles and characterized their encounter with the poetry in catchwords. That way, they developed six very different characters for the poems, characters they made come alive on the social network that seemed to fit the character most closely. By way of the links below you can visit the characters and become part of Cox & Grusenmeyer’s reading experience.

All images were made especially for this project and are legally protected by copyright ©2012-2013 Cox & Grusenmeyer. The words shown in the images, photos, video and graphics are quotes from the poems by Rozalie Hirs. These concern the following six poems or cycles, all of which appear integrally: ‘lieve lente lacht’ (p.33), ‘vier de stameling’ (pp.52-53), ‘who put on my shoes’ 1-7 (‘die deed mijn schoenen aan’ 1-7; pp.54-61; English translation: Donald Gardner), ‘a no’ (‘een nee’; p.31; English translation: Donald Gardner), ‘long at present longing’ 0-6 (pp.16-23), ‘duizend en één pixel’ (p.36). The project received financial support from the Netherlands Foundation for Literature.

Sightbook: alter ego 1 – Nicky Geneva, Blogger

Visit Nicky Geneva’s blog

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 1 (Nicky Geneva, Blogger), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "Lieve lente lacht" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Sightbook: alter ego 2 – Agatha van der Aa, YouTube

Watch Agatha van der Aa’s videos on YouTube

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 2 (Agatha van der Aa, YouTube), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "Vier de stameling" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Sightbook: alter ego 3 – Diederik Lamme, Tumblr

Leaf through Diederik Lamme’s notebook on Tumblr

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 3 (Diederik Lamme, Tumblr), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "Who put on my shoes" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Sightbook: alter ego 4 – Anna Sherman, Facebook

Become friends with Anna Sherman on Facebook

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 4 (Anna Sherman, Facebook), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "A no" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Sightbook: alter ego 5 – Paul Wittema, Twitter

Follow Paul Wittema on Twitter

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 5 (Paul Wittema, Twitter), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "Duizend en één pixel" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Sightbook: alter ego 6 – Marc Thompson, Instagram

Follow Marc Thompson on Instagram

Zichtboek: Alter Ego 6 (Marc Thompson, Instagram), Cox & Grusenmeyer op basis van het gedicht "Long at present longing" uit de bundel gestamelde werken (Amsterdam: Querido, 2012) door Rozalie Hirs

Inventing a new syntax and grammar in music (without words or voices)

Roseherte (2008)
Digital tools: OpenMusic software (generation, processing), CSound (sound synthesis)
Mathematics, Physics: ringmodulation, curves, mathematical function

Roseherte (2008; rev. 2014) for symphony orchestra and electronic sounds

Venus [morning star] (2010)
Digital tools: AudioSculpt software (analysis, resynthesis), OpenMusic software (analysis, representation), Logic (sampler)
Mathematics, Physics: spectral analysis, Risset/Shepard tone

Zaha Hadid's Bach Pavilion; Rozalie Hirs's percussion set up for her composition 'Venus' (2010), Holland Festival, Amsterdam

article 7 [seven ways to climb a mountain] (2012)
Digital tools: OpenMusic software (generation, processing), SuperCollider (digital sound synthesis)
Mathematics, Physics: glissando/slides, harmonic spectra, ring modulation, binaural beats

article 7 [seven ways to climb a mountain] (2012) for bass clarinet and electronic sounds

Tenso 2017: Panel discussions on words and music [invitation]

You are cordially invited to two panel discussions with fellow composers and writers this morning at Philharmonie de Paris, France, as part of the International TENSO Conference. We will discuss all kinds of uses of words in music and the intrinsic music of words and poetry. The event is open to the public. Welcome!


09:30 CET
opening words with Emmanuel Honoré (FR) and Leo Samama (NL)

09:45 CET
keynote: the verbal and non-verbal aspect of music Eero Tarasti (FI)

10:15 CET
the composer face to face with the text
panel: Philippe Hersant (FR), Thierry Machuel (FR) Violetta Cruz (COL) and Sebastian Androne (RO)
moderator: Laurent Slaars (FR)

11:30 CET
the writer face to face with the music
panel: Rozalie Hirs (NL), Nicole Corti (FR), Aoife Mannix (IE), Stephen McNeff (UK)
moderator: Sylvie Douche (FR)

Addition 17:30 CET Here is the page with some of the works and topics I mentioned this morning.

Roseherte (2007-08; 2014)


1. Listen
2. Program notes
3. Technical details
4. Performances


Program notes

Roseherte (2007-08), for a ninety-piece symphony orchestra and one hundred and fifty electronic sounds, borrows its name from the Middle Dutch mythical animal that lives in the depths of the heart. Roseherte (Rose hart) is roused from her eternal sleep by the Occitan unicorn. They set out in the rain as the sun breaks through and rainbows appear in the silver-grey sky. They sing about the zeppelins and air balloons flying by. Along with humming high-tension cables they sing of clouds and time. They are fond of pairs of dominant seventh chords whose roots are separated by the consonant interval of a perfect fifth. These pairs of seventh chords occur in various transpositions throughout Roseherte, and can be conceived as combinations of two or three harmonic series with matching partials. Roseherte employs ring modulation calculations between the two dominant seventh chords occurring within a pair. In this way, the two chords are, as it were, heard in the light of each other.
All calculations were done with OpenMusic software and transformed into the orchestral score by hand and ear. The calculated frequencies underlying the instrumental score were, then, used for sound synthesis with Csound software. During the performance of Roseherte, a musician triggers the synthesized sounds with a sampler, while two stereo loudspeakers that are placed next to the orchestra on stage project the electronic sounds into the hall. The resulting flexible soundtrack amplifies the orchestral mass during the performance: It adds perspective to the orchestral sound, blends with it mysteriously as a kind of aural halo, and, then again, sets itself apart placing the orchestra, as it were, in a sound space.

Technical details

15′ ca.

instrumentation (2008, version for symphony orchestra: 91 players)
3 flutes (flutes 2: also piccolo)
3 oboes (oboe 3: also cor anglais)
3 clarinets (clarinet 3: also bass clarinet)
3 bassoons (bassoon 3: also contrabassoon)

4 French horns
3 trumpets
2 tenor trombones
1 bass trombone

timpani (1 player)
4 percussionists: crotales (bowed and hit), 3 glockenspiels, 4 thai gongs, tubular bells (twee octaves: one standaard and one low set), vibraphone (4 octaves), marimba, 12 bell plates (or bell plate sampler, to be obtained through the composer), 3 cymbals (high, medium, low; to bow with string bows), 2 sand paper blocks, bass drum

celesta (1 player)

midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)

16 violins I
14 violins II
12 violas
10 cellos
8 double basses

instrumentation (2014; revised version for orchestra: 42 players)
2 flutes (flute 2: also piccolo)
2 oboes (oboe 2: also cor anglais)
2 clarinets (clarinet 2: also bass clarinet)
2 bassoons (bassoon 2: also contrabassoon)

2 French horns
2 trumpets
1 tenor trombones
1 bass trombone

2 percussionists: crotales (bowed and hit), glockenspiels, thai gongs, tubular bells, vibraphone (4 octaves), marimba, 3 cymbals (high, medium, low; to bow with string bows), 2 sand paper blocks, bass drum


midi keyboard & laptop for electronic sounds (1 player)

6 violins I
6 violins II
4 violas
4 cellos
2 double basses

further technical requirements
1.) Logic software, to be installed on the above mentioned laptop
2.) The ‘Hirstotaal’ sampler, to be obtained through Donemus Publishing.
This sampler with 150 electronic sounds was programmed by sound engineer and designer Jan Panis. The sounds were synthesized by Rozalie Hirs with technical assistance by Casper Schipper. The sound synthesis was done with the help of Csound software. Together the electronic sounds become a flexible soundtrack, that is used both as a reference for the orchestra with respect to the microtonal tuning as well as shaping a sound space within which the orchestral sound can evolve.
3.) Amplifier and mixer in the concert hall
4.) Stereo loudspeakers, to be placed next to or near the orchestra on the podium


6 November 2014 (version for orchestra: 42 players), 19:00, November Music, Verkadefabriek (Grote Zaal), Den Bosch, The Netherlands – Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Bas Wiegers (conductor)

21 September 2012 (version for symphony orchestra: 90 players), 19:30, Fifty-fifth International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland – Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Pascal Rophé (conductor)

8 November 2008 (version for symphony orchestra: 90 players), 20:15, Nederlandse Muziekdagen: Oer, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Micha Hamel (conductor) – world premiere

Rozalie Hirs: Roseherte, 21 september 2012, Warsaw Philharmonic, Pascal Rophé

Photograph: Rozalie Hirs on stage after the performance of Roseherte by the Warsaw Philharmonic at Warsaw Autumn (photo ©2012 Jan Bogacz)

Location: Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, Piet Heinkade 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Performers: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Micha Hamel (conductor)

Published on: 2008-11-08

Roseherte now on SoundCloud

Dear friends, these weeks I shall be sharing a few more sound recordings of my works through SoundCloud. First of all here is the live recording of Roseherte as performed by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Micha Hamel (conductor) in November 2008. This live recording received additional mastering by Guido Tichelman. For more info on the composition, please visit its main page.

Happy 2017!

Happy new year – wishing you love, happiness, and lots of new music, poems, and other arts in 2017!

Here is a photograph taken by my sweetheart on a rooftop in Amsterdam just after midnight, where we were celebrating with friends. Yes, it was this foggy, and yes, the fireworks were this red (at times).

Publication at kookbooks, Berlin, in March 2017

kookbooks catalog cover herbst 2014Absolutely delighted to officially announce the forthcoming publication of gestammelte werke by kookbooks, Berlin, later this year. kookbooks has been one of my favorite publishing houses for years, so I feel deeply grateful. Daniela Seel and I have been working on the translations together intensively over the past few years. The book is a selection from five of my poetry books, and contains original poems in Dutch, German, English, and Spanish, and translations into as many as ten languages, such as Chinese, Russian, Swedish, Albanian, among others. More info to follow soon.

Rozalie Hirs: gestammelte werke (Berlin: kookbooks, 2014)

Rozalie Hirs
gestammelte werke Gedichte
Reihe Lyrik Band 39/ ca. 240 pages
ISBN 978-3-9374-45-67-0
kookbooks, Berlin, Germany
March 2017