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Erik-Jan Harmens

Harmens was born in Harderwijk in 1970 and studied in Amsterdam. He made his first appearance on the Dutch literary scene in a different way than most. In 2002 he was crowned the first Dutch National Poetry Slam champion.

The following year he published his first collection of poetry In menigten (In crowds) about the chaotic love-life of a poet. The English language played an important role in his 2005 collection Underperformer which was awarded numerous Dutch poetry honours. He has performed his work at Rotterdam’s Poetry International, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York and the popular Dutch dance music festival Lowlands. He also interviewed numerous poets for the VPRO radio programme De Avonden.

The versatile poet has been involved in some unique projects. He collaborated with interior architects i29 on the design of a new Dutch secondary school. Harmens worked with students to identify certain themes relating to adolescence - friendship, insecurity, the future. Poems were fashioned into black 'carpets of text' which flow into each other forming intriguing graphic patterns on floors, walls and furniture.

Modern life
Harmens is also Senior Media Analyst for Citigroup First Financial - an investor relations firm in Amsterdam. His experience in the world of corporate finance is the basis for his first novel published in 2007. Kleine doorschijnende man (Little Transparent Man) is a dark psychological tale of modern life which critics praised for it’s language, humour and keen observations of everyday absurdities.

Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

This author's Radio Book:

Erik-Jan Harmens

Harmens’ Radiobooks contribution combines his poetic wordplay with his interest in personal relationships – set in an anonymous post 9/11 urban environment where a terrorist attack seems to have occurred.

“…and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone feeling in his bag, and for a moment I thought he was feeling for a mobile phone, but instead everything went white and when I opened my eyes I was lying here, I don’t know where exactly but it’s a place I’ve absolutely made my own, a home can be a terraced house, a hotel room, a filthy cellar, a clown’s caravan, but also a niche under the ground where you would never end up if someone hadn’t had the idea that this city in general and this square in particular should be grabbed by the balls, disrupted, neutralised by means of an act of terrorism.”

Love by Erik Jan Harmens was translated by Michael Blass. The story is read by David Swatling.

Produced by Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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