Rozalie Hirs

Locus (1998)

In her first collection, Locus, Rozalie Hirs plays with identities. The poems are new monologues by characters from Greek mythology, philosophy and the Christian tradition. Additionally, we come across references to films and theatre plays: the poem Man bites Dog for instance is a reference to the 1992 Belgian film of the same name, the mockumentary Man Bites Dog (C’est arrivé près de chez vous), and the poem Lucifer refers to the play of the same title by Joost van den Vondel from 1654. In most of these poems, Hirs presents her archetypical characters in critical situations and lets them tell their version of the story. Most of these poems deal with taking decisions and with the ambiguity of the situation with which we find ourselves confronted in the world.

, ISBN: 9789021466439

“And, yes, it bears saying, Rozalie Hirs writes beautiful poems. She has great control of language and sensibility, and often invents original metaphors.” Rogi Wieg, Het Parool

“With Locus, Rozalie Hirs has certainly produced a remarkable debut. Like many poets, the poet tries to articulate in her poetry a kind of positioning within the world. In itself, this is hardly an original endeavor. What is interesting in this collection, then, is the way in which Hirs delineates her identity in relation to mythical figures and places. In her poems, her feelings and ideas are transformed into variations on (transformations of) age-old mythical patterns. In turn, the poet assumes the pride and envy of Lucifer, the ignorance of Adam, the uncertain force of the heroic smith. In this context it is no coincidence at all that near to its end, the collection features a poem with the typical title, ‘Magic Lantern’. Hirs, too, strives to let her own everyday life blend with the magic of images, paintings, performances and film. In doing so, she presents herself primarily as a ‘storyteller’, an I recording tales; this seemingly unpretentious storytelling tone makes for an excellent counterpoise to all the ‘heavy’ examples. Although Locus is not yet a brilliant collection as a whole, Hirs does sound one of the most intriguing voices of recent times. A collection to be read, to be dreamed after, and to be looking forward from to a sequel." Dirk de Geest, Leesidee

“In her first collection, Locus, Rozalie Hirs is continuously playing a game with masks. A large number of poems have a name for a title. Always a different name. The poems can be read as a monologue by that person. [...] In the Greek theatrical tradition, masks are symbols of identification. When a performer would don a mask, he would become one with the character that he was portraying. [...] The poems are attempts to ‘harken to the unknown’. The chosen characters are the tools of the poet. Again and again, the mask of their name lends a different guise to the voice of the poet. Those who are in search of the unknown do best to venture into the borderlands. There, where the identity of persons and things becomes vague, or changes sharply and radically, the unknown is to be found. One can also split an identity, to create a new one or to uncover the dark and unknown drives within oneself. Harkening to the unknown is then listening to strange inner voices.” Hans Groenewegen, HN-Magazine