Sybren Polet is the pseudonym of Sybe Minnema, who was born in Kampen in 1924. Although counted among the Fiftiers, Polet has always been somewhat of an outsider within the group. His poems have been distinguished from the start by a more explicit and complex imagery. Both a poet and a novelist, he has traveled extensively, and the early 1950s found him living in Stockholm, where he made translations of modern Swedish poetry and a number of Strindberg’s plays, besides editing two very early anthologies of science fiction.
Polet’s poetry, in fact, derives some of its major themes from the sphere of speculative fiction—principally the concepts of metamorphosis and rebirth. One of his books of poetry, Geboorte-Stad (Native Town) bears Paul Éluard’s phrase, “Our birth is perpetual,” and another of Polet’s books, Persoon/Onpersoon (Person/Unperson), Virginia Woolf’s pronouncement: “I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.” These notions are connected as well to a social consciousness, a sense of one’s fellow man as another “I.” Polet’s techniques of objectivism and his complex verbal transformations at times parallel methods of modern technology, in an attempt to abolish the difference between poet and apoetic spheres of language.
BOOKS OF POETRY:
Demiurgasmen (Amsterdam: U. M. Holland, 1953);Organon (Amsterdam: U. M. Holland, 1958); Geboorte-Stad (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1958); Lady Godiva op scooter (Amsterdam: De Beuk, 1960); Konkrete poëzie (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1962); Persoon/Onpersoon (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1971; Illusie & Illuminatie (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1975); Gedichten I (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1977); Taalfiguren 1 & 2 (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1983); Taalfiguren 3 & 4 (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1995); Gedichten 1998-1948 (Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 2001)