23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Hagar Peeters

Hagar Peeters was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1972. She studied Philosophy, General Literature Studies and Cultural History in Utrecht.  In her dissertation she documented the development of Dutch penal systems through the biography of the notorious criminal Gerrit de Stotteraar, who was as notorious for the large number of burglaries he committed as for his jailbreaks.  For this scholarly work, which also reads as an exciting novel, Peeters soon received two important distinctions: first the renowned prize for scholarly texts, the Nationale Scriptieprijs, and then, following the publication of the work under the title ‘Gerrit de Stotteraar – Biographie van een boef’ (2002; Engl: Gerrit de Stotteraar – biography of a criminal), the Utrecht booksellers’ award 2002. After completing her studies she worked as an editor for the newspaper ‘Historisch Nieuwsblad’ and as a PR consultant for a non-profit organisation. During her adolescence she discovered her love of poetry. Her first appearance as a ‘performing poet’ was in a youth centre in front of an extremely critical audience, whose attention she had to fight for.  Through this experience she developed a flair for knowing which poems worked best performed on stage, and which were fit for poetry collections.  The balance between content and presentation is therefore very important to Peeters.  Some poems function through their “flow”, that is: through clipped rhymes and distinct rhythms of speech, as raps.  At other times she performs with a guitarist, in an interplay between music and language. Although the title of her first poetry collection is called ‘Genoeg gedicht over de liefde vandaag’ (1999; Engl: I’ve had enough Poems about Love for One Day), her poems are largely about the possibility and impossibility of love, about expectations and disappointments.  She prefers to address situations in life and love whose particular tragedy lies in the fact that they are nearly perfect, but remain just a pinch away from perfection.  She succeeds in confronting serious themes with a carefree, ironic ease.  “Dancing arises from beautiful ways of walking, singing from beautiful ways of speeking. Poetry is the art of expressing as purely as possible beautiful thoughts and the amazement at the inscrutability of being.”  From her book, ‘Koffers Zeelucht’ (2003; Engl: A Suitcase of Sea Air), the poem ‘Droombeeld’ was awarded the Gedichtendagprijzen 2004 as one of the best Dutch poems of 2003. Her most recent collection of poetry, „Zo dichtbij te zijn geweest“ was published in 2006. Hagar Peeters lives in Amsterdam.

© international literature festival berlin


Genoeg gedicht over de liefde vandaag
Amsterdam, 1999

Gerrit de Stotteraar: Biografie van een boef
Amsterdam, 2002

Koffers Zeelucht
De Bezige Bij
Amsterdam, 2003

Recensie van de taal
De Uitvreter
Zoeterwoude-Dorp, 2004

Amsterdam, 2005

Zo dichtbij te zijn geweest
Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep
Amsterdam, 2006

Übersetzerin: Maria Csollany