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By Radna Fabias
Translated by David Colmer
An explosive entry into the world of poetry from Radna Fabias, the most acclaimed debut poet ever in the Dutch language.
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Subversive, visual, and bold, Curaçao-born Dutch Radna Fabias’ explosive debut collection Habitus marks the entry of a genre-altering poet. Habitus is a collection full of thrilling sensory images, lines in turn grim and enchanting which move from the Caribbean island of Curaçao to the immigrant experience of the Netherlands. Fabias’ intrepid masterpiece explores issues of racism, neo-colonialism, poverty, and sexism with a heartbreaking rhythm and endless nuance.
Broken into three parts (“View with coconut,” “Rib,” and “Demonstrable effort made”), Habitus explores the profound struggles of melancholic longing, womanhood, religion, and migration. This ambitious, powerful, and compassionate collection has emerged, cheering on ambiguity, fluidity, and a lyrical ego on a quest to find its home.
Radna Fabias was born on the Caribbean island of Curaçao and moved to the Netherlands to study at the age of seventeen. Her first collection of poetry, Habitus, was published in 2018 to universal acclaim and went on to win an unprecedented five Dutch and Belgian poetry prizes.
David Colmer is an Australian writer, editor, and translator, mainly of Dutch-language literature. He translates in a range of genres and has won many prizes, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (both with novelist Gerbrand Bakker). Colmer’s translation of a selection of Mustafa Stitou’s poetry, Two Half Faces, was published by Deep Vellum / Phoneme Media in late 2020.
Winner of the 2019 Grand Poetry Prize of the Netherlands
Winner of the Aan Zee Poetry Debut Prize
Winner of the C Buddinhh’ Prize
Winner of the Awater Poetry Prize
Winner of the Herman de Coninck Prize
"If lucky, readers get drawn into a language; at best, they get pulled into a new world. The 35-year-old poet Radna Fabias provides an exceptional ‘at best’ case. Fabias does what readers hope a poet can do: she does not just throw language and thoughts at you; she draws you into her world. The opening poem of her collection Habitus starts with an appropriate image: shiny wheel rims, flawlessly polished and too big and expensive for the cars to which they are attached. It’s fitting, because what follows is speed: 115 mesmerizing, generous, sensory, playful, daring pages. She introduces the reader to the Dutch Antilles, to perforce powerful women, and to the peril that always lurks around the corner. All of this haunts Fabias, such that she must write poetry about it: she speaks of “the inability to amputate my cultural background from my identity.” And it haunts the reader. […] The Jury reached a consensus quite quickly and agreed: What a gift, this Habitus, and what a winner for the Aan Zee Poetry Debut Prize!" ––Jury Report, Aan Zee Poetry Debut Prize
“What transforms this poetry into great poetry is its momentum and rhythm, the wealth of its images and its nuanced vision on human existence." ––Piet Gerbrandy, Versopolis Poetry