Remco Campert was born in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1929. He is the son of the journalist and poet Jan Campert, who was murdered in 1943 in the Neuengamme concentration camp. His mother was the actress Joekie Broedelet. Remco Campert started to write poetry at an early age and published his first book of verse »Vogels vliegen toch« (1951) at the age of 22; the title itself alludes to the fact that the author experiments with new forms.
Together with Rudy Kousbroek, he founded the magazine »Braak«, which helped lay the groundwork for the emergence of the 50’s movement. Along with Bernd Schierbeek, Gerrit Kouwenaar, Jan G. Elburg and Simon Vinkenoog, they brought about the most radical change in post-war Dutch literature to date. As the publisher of various newspapers and magazines including »Podium« and »Triade«, Remco Campert has significantly influenced the intellectual discourse in his country.
Characteristic of his openness and social involvement is that, unlike other writers of his generation, he made literature accessible to the »uninitiated«. He thus reached people who had never read literature before and became a youth idol.
His writing varies in style and format. At first glance his poems, novels and stories appear to be easily accessible, but upon second glance they grow more refined and enigmatic. He addresses the shortcomings of life in a relaxed and humorous way. With ironic distance, Campert takes elitist rhetoric and juxtaposes it with immediacy and directness. His work alternates between disillusionment, philanthropy and melancholy, and in the Netherlands has earned him the honorary title of »Dichter« (t: poet), which is also the title of the anthology »Remco Campert – Dichter« published in 1995. Although Campert is primarily very popular as a poet in his native country, his novels, stories and thrice-weekly columns in the »Volkskrant« also reach a wide audience. In his involvement with the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, he played a decisive role even early on as a participant, translator, moderator and advisor, and was later made president of the International Advisory Board. In 1997 he co-founded the foundation Poets of all Nations (PAN). To date, although he is considered one of the most important representatives of Dutch poetry, only few of his poems have been translated into German.
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