Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Your list has always been interesting, idiosyncratic, imaginative and your translations [...] have been a source of pleasure to me.
Al Alvarez


Toon Tellegen

Translated by Judith Wilkinson

No Text
RRP: GBP 12.95
Available from: Amazon LogoBuy now from Amazon
eBook (Kindle)
ISBN: 978 1 847778 56 7
Categories: 21st Century, Dutch, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2011
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), Paperback, eBook (PDF)
Spend GBP 15 or more and receive a free Carcanet tote bag. Available internationally while stocks last.
Find out more.
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Winner of the 2011 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Translation

    With the economy of proverbs and the psychological insight of a novel, Toon Tellegen’s acclaimed sequence Raptors depicts the dynamics of a family held hostage by the mood-swings and histrionics of a father, a figure both comic and terrifying, grotesque and pathetic. Tellegen’s mercurial imagination evokes the dark archetypes of European folklore and reanimates them with a sophisticated sense of the endless fluidity of relationships, the instability of interpretation. An improvisation on a theme, circling back to ‘my father’ at the start of each poem, Raptors builds to a story without narrative, its extravagant imaginative leaps into absurdity held within a framework of tender observation. Toon Tellegen’s translator Judith Wilkinson has worked closely with the poet to create English poems that capture the startling clarity and inventiveness of the original Dutch. Raptors has the rewarding intensity of a modern classic.

    Cover painting Mary Harman, Keeper. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist.


    Introduction by Judith Wilkinson ix
    Preface by Toon Tellegen 3

    My father moved heaven and earth 7
    searched for water 8
    bit the dust 9
    stuck to his guns 10
    picked bitter fruits 11
    applied a double standard 12
    got into deep water 13
    washed his hands in innocence 14
    was in the seventh heaven 15
    stewed in his own juice 16
    played with fire 17
    became down and out 18
    was on cloud nine 19
    knew how to live 20
    retraced his steps 21
    twisted the facts 22
    wanted to alleviate suffering 23
    was a book 24
    was in the air, like a rumour 25
    sat on a mountain 26
    created the world 27
    plucked up all his courage 28
    looked for injustice 29
    tied himself into a thousand knots 30
    abandoned all hope 31
    was speechless 32
    looked for a needle 33
    was wide of the mark 34
    poured salt in wounds 35
    stayed out of the picture 36
    who rose and sank in esteem 37
    screamed blue murder 38
    did not let sleeping dogs 39
    was in a terrible state 43
    threw dust about 44
    put on a show 45
    let a cup 46
    kicked down doors 47
    washed the dirty linen in public 48
    let the fire run its course 49
    had the last word 50
    blew such a big trumpet 51
    was a human being 52
    destroyed things 53
    was happy 54
    soft-soaped the guilty 55
    was every bit 56
    kept up appearances 57
    acted in good faith and took the smooth 58
    looked for someone, just one person 59
    slept 60
    dragged things by the hair 61
    was in a tight corner 62
    who blows up rocks, blows away people, blows
    out peace 63
    looked in a mirror 64
    thanked my mother 65
    was immense and limitless 66
    made things hot for people 67
    how fathomless was the depth of his shame 68
    there was a gaping hole in him 69
    looked for love 70
    was a mistake 71
    died a thousand deaths 72
    couldn’t comprehend himself any more 73

    and then for hours, days 77
    fished for answers 78
    was everywhere 79
    slept through headaches, hazards and
    uncontrollable 80
    was gone 81
    explained himself 82
    behold the tears of my father 83
    choked on his daily bread 84
    created pain 85
    bowed to the inevitable 86
    talked gibberish 87
    racked his brains 88
    was already himself 89
    promised everything, pledged everything 90
    was nobody 91
    is a tiny bit – one millionth – deader 92
    begot surprise 94
    didn’t waste his breath 95
    wanted to love my mother 96
    got under the skin 97
    was at his wits’ end 98
    buried his head 99
    found happiness 100
    saw ghosts 101
    was so small 102
    quite honestly, really wanted only one thing 103
    didn’t know that he was in despair 104
    smashed rocks, smashed mud 105
    was in safe hands, was extolled to the skies 106
    was coming to an end 107
    began to confuse things 108
    was something 109
    My mother stood in the doorway 110

    Toon Tellegen
    Toon Tellegen was born in 1941 on one of the islands in the south-west of the Netherlands. He is one of the best-known Dutch writers, with a long list of awards to his name. In 2007 he received two major prizes for his entire oeuvre. He considers himself in the first ... read more
    Judith Wilkinson
    Judith Wilkinson is a British poet and prize-winning translator living in the Netherlands. Her first two collections of translations, the Belgian poet Miriam Van hee’s Instead of Silence (a PBS Recommendation), and Toon Tellegen’s About Love and About Nothing Else, were published by Shoestring Press. A collection of her own ... read more
    Awards won by Toon Tellegen Winner, 2011 Poetry Society Popescu Prize for Translation (Raptors)
    Awards won by Judith Wilkinson Winner, 2011 Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Translation (Raptors)
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Songs We Learn From Trees: Chris Beckett read more Carcanet and Covid-19 read more PN Review 252: Editorial read more Happy International Women's Day 2020! read more Angular Desire: Graziano Krtli read more Riddle Me: John Gallas read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2020 Carcanet Press Ltd