Eddy van Vliet was born in 1942 in Antwerp. The writer, who also worked as a lawyer in his home town, was one of the best known Flemish contemporary literary figures. Already at the age of 22 he wrote his debut with the poetry volume ‘Hed lied van ik’. Since then he published more than a dozen poetry volumes, including ‘Due’ (1967), ‘Het grote verdriet’ (1974), ‘Jaren na maart’ (1983) and ‘De toekomstige dief’ (1991). He became known outside Belgium when, in 1967, he became the first Fleming to receive the Dutch ‘Reina Prinsen Geerligs Prijs’. He was also awarded the ‘Ark-Prijs van het Vrije Woord’ (1969), the ‘Jan Campert Prijs’ (1974) and the ‘Belgium State Prize for Poetry’ (1989). Van Vliet’s poems have been translated into many European languages.
Van Vliet also made a name for himself as an essayist, for example with the much discussed volume ‘Poêzie: een pleiooi’. In ‘Vader’ (2001) Eddy van Vliet involves himself with the adventure of the long poem and manages this ‘tour de force’ with style. For his only prose work ‘Een lekker hapje voor Winston’ (1996) his colleague, the internationally acclaimed romancier and lyric poet Hugo Claus, contributed the illustrations.
Eddy van Vliet’s poetry is often described as down to earth and with a vigorous sense of purpose. The vulnerability of human existence, the longing for security, the resistance against alienation and death are all central themes of his works. At the latest with his poetry volume ‘Zoals in een fresco de kleur’ (1996) Eddy van Vliet found an almost classical, symbolic tone which, according to critics, represented a high point for Flemish-Dutch contemporary literature. Eddy van Vliet passed away in Antwerp in 2002.
© international literature festival berlin