Monday, March 25, 2013


Poems & pieces gathered by Pete Spence including collaborations with Cornelis Vleeskens & reminiscences from Hendrik Kolenberg & Rob Kars.

Edited by Kris Hemensley, 2012/2013.



Cornelis Vleeskens.

Curvature of the mind
Ornate beyond straight thought
Rallies over a Dutch mass like
Noctiluca  effervescing over an
Evening beverage that would spoil
Latte specialists or transient
Inertia plagued by
Solar encroachment

Verily the candescence
Leans like an oblique sheen
Emerging at pace without
Effort or so it
Seems as you take another
Keen lope into the marbled
Entropic margin
New each moment
Sails brightly aloft


Cornelis Vleeskens : list of publications

This list is not in order of publication its in the order i
picked each title up from the pile some chapbooks
have no publishing name noted in list as "no publishing
title" the rest are by EarthDance Cornelis'
publishing title after Fling there are some by DnD
done in Fitzroy around the early to mid 90's dates of
publication only where it is stated on the publication
and i have rarely described any book they take
up 3 main styles Poetry/Visual Poetry/Ink Brush works.
all books by Cornelis Vleeskens any collaborations will
be noted as "with". and finally this list is surely not complete

pete spence

The Departure Lounge. Post Neo Publications. Melbourne. 1987.
Set Pieces. Mighty Thin Books. Ocean Grove. 1998.
Foreshore. Mighty Thin Books. Ocean Grove. 1998.
50/50. Mighty Thin Books. Ocean Grove.1998.
Garween Heron Songs. Mighty Thin Books. O.G. 1998.
Summer House. Mighty Thin Books. O.G. 1999.
Homage. Mighty Thin Books. O.G. 1998.
Catch. Mighty Thin Books. O.G. 1998.
Salmon Wind. with pete spence. Mighty Thin BOOKS. O.G.  1999.
Big Jolt Funk. Mighty Thin Books. 1998.
Manifesto. Mighty Thin Books. 1999.
A HA. Red Fox Press. Ireland. 2011.
Divertimenti. EarthDance. 2010. Glen Innes.
Sand and Sun Waking. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Gedraag je als een aap in het landschap. with Paul Ritt. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Poissons Savages. with Tim Gaze. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
4 GE( )ICHTEN. No Publishing Title. c. late 1980's.
INKT. No Publishing Title. Cape Paterson.
Candied Eye. with pete spence. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Four Winds. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Naked Dreams. Dutch Poetry in Translation. Post Neo. St.Kilda. 1980's.
Fragments. Earthdance. Glen Innes.
"On the Street Where you Live"/"Rondom de Straten waer ick Liep". No Publishing Title.
De Noorder Wind. (In Dutch) No Publishing Title.
Point Blank. with pete spence. EarthDance.
No Holds Barred. Dutch Poetry. EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2009.
Suite 4 pete. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Field(Flide). EarthDance. 1999?
Ten Years After. CV 23 Nov. 98.
Four Short Fictions. Fling Poetry 1988.
Oblad. with Dirk de Bruyn. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
For a Song. No Publishing Title.
(2X4) Poems (Visual Poems). EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Earth my Faith. EarthDance. Melbourne. 1993.
1970-1980. Open Hand Press. Geelong.
(S)HIVER. 1999.
Papercut. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Stinging Nettles. EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2011.
Improper Sonnets. for Paul Burns. EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2011.
Tete a Tete. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Alpha-Cartography, South by South. with pete spence. Runnawayspoon Press. USA. 2001.
Portal. (Vis/Po). EarthDance. Cape Paterson 1998.
De Ontdekking van Niew Holland. No Publishing Title.
Beyond the Frame. EarthDance. Melbourne. 1993.
Het Gedrang van de Leegte/ The Overwhelming Emptiness. Fling. Melbourne. 1987.
Double Dutch. with Paul Ritt. Fling Poetry. (Edition of 25 copies.)
Night After Night. (Edition of 25.) 1991.
Talen Vervallen. Fling. Edition of 50. 1991.
Ochre Dancer. EarthDance. Cape Paterson. 1999.
Rembrandt's Windmill. EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2011.
"A". EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Please Add Too!!!. Various Collaborators. Open Hand Press. Geelong. 1999.
Echos. No Publishing Title. Cape Paterson.
Score. DnD Press. 2001.
Collapoems. EarthDance.
No Synchro in First. No Publishing Title.
MarketPlace. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Eftal. Artist Book. Edition of 25.
HeatWave. Cape Paterson.
The Sense we Have Left
. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Sketches. with Jenni Mitchell. Fling. 1982.
The Final Chapter. Fling Poetry. Melbourne. 1988.
The Huntsman. Joker Press. Cape Paterson (?)
Iommer. Oerdans. (Earthdance)
Cubist Cigars. Cape Paterson.
Triple Bypass. with Tim Gaze & John Crouse. Annabasis/EarthDance. 2003.
Descending a Staircase. No Publishing Title.
Soiled Litigants. with Tim Gaze. DnD Press. 2002.
Musee. No Publishing Title.
Haiku (calligraphy) No Publishing Title.
Tien Gedichen/Ten Poems (Dutch/English) Fling. 1984/5.
PostDuiven. No Publishing Title.
Senses Ajar (Pamphlet) No Publishing Title.
JJA. EarthDance.
Red Dust. No Publishing Title.
Klad-Werk (corrections copy) No Publishing Title.
Spring Rains. EarthDance.
For Love. (Typographic Poem). EarthDance.
+ A.   No Publishing Title.
These Text(D)ualities. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Fancy Free Flight. with Tim Gaze. EarthDance.
Cape Haiku. EarthDance. Cape Paterson. 1997.
Snakes of Fire Rivers of Sand. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
SWASH. No Publishing Title.
Brush Poems. EarthDance.
Utterances. EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2011.
Reindeer Dreaming. EarthDance. 1994.
The EarthDance Summer Collaborations. with Greg Stephens/
      Pul Ritt/ Suzy Kepert/Dirk de Bruyn/ Sharon Hodgson/
      Patrick Alexander/ pete spence.  EarthDance. 1999.
Another Slim Volume. Fling. 1984.
Eagles Nest. with Sharon Hodgson. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
(Narration) for Henri M. & Chr. D.  EarthDance. Glen Innes.
Pause and Effect. with Sharon Hodgson. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
East-SouthEast.  Ars Publications.
Des Formes. No Publishing Title.
Triplets. with Tim Gaze & John Crouse. Telepathine Press. 2004.
Mon.07.08.00. with Tim Gaze. No Publishing Title.
L'Espirit. EarthDance.
10. A selection of Artist Books by Cornelis Vleeskens. Curated by pete spence.
Orange Blizzard. QLD. Community Press. 1981.
Orange Blizzard. (reprint) EarthDance. Glen Innes. 2005.
Air Conditioned Gypsy. (The Tokyo Notebooks). Fling Poetry. 1992.
Salted Herring. Fling Poetry. 1980.
HongKong Suicide. Gargoyle Poets 20. Makar Press. 1976.
CV. PressPress. 2009.
Tree Frog Dreaming. Fling Poetry. 1990.
Een Oogopslag. (handmade hand written) Edition of 1 (?).
Broken Lines. (Images by Paul Ritt) Fling Poetry. Edition of 50.
Through the Eye of the Scissors. J. Elberg. (Translation). Open Hand Press. Geelong. 1999.
Fine White Lines. with Tim Gaze & Michael Basinski. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
Unconscious at Cape Paterson. with Tim Gaze. Annabasis/Xtant. 2002.
On 2 Walkabout. EarthDance.
Learc. No Press Title.
I  E  A  O  U. EarthDance. Cape Paterson.
X<>Bar Gazing. Open Hand Press. Geelong. 1999.
Whoroo-Turn. Cape Paterson.
Olympiad. Cape Paterson. 2000. Edition of 1 (?) Signed.
Jia. (Loose Folder) Issue No. 3 of 5.
Unconscious at Cape Paterson. (2nd printing) Coromandel Valley Books.
T( )T. (Handmade) No.15 of 24. Signed. 1998.
Images. (Handmade) (penciled in in colour) No. 13 of 15. 1991. signed.
Meridies. with pete spence. Look!! Poetry!! Ocean Grove 1998.
Dutch- Australian Broadsheets No.4 Fling Poetry. 1989. Nos. 1/2/3
    in print ready form in pete spence's Archive.
The Wider Canvas. EarthDance. 1996.
Nothing Kept. Brunswick Hill Press. 1986.
The Day The River. UQP.
Sittings For a Family Portrait. Post Neo 1988
15 Various handmade with hand painted covers (1 offs)
Silent Music. A Suite for Theo Kuijpers. EarthDance.
      hand painted covers in Dutch & English. Glen Innes.
South Africa. for Rob Kars. hand painted front cover. Glen Innes.
The Exotic Other. The Portrayal of Aboriginal Culture on
      Australian Postage Stamps & related Philatelic products
      EarthDance. Cape Paterson. 1999.
INKT. (Set of Artist proofs in covers for the chapbook INKT listed earlier.
Full Moon Over Lumpine Park. Fling Poets 2. 1982.
Sweet Penguin- Linked Verse by Catherine Mair & Patricia Prime
   ink brush work throughout the publication by Cornelis Vleeskens
   chapbook printed August 2000 unknown publisher.




The last time I saw him was October 2011. He was thinner than when I had seen him previously, two years earlier – he seemed somewhat fragile, but looked well enough to me. He made the long journey to Sydney with 2 bars of silver, payment for some of his tachist-calligraphic drawings and collages. He cashed them in with a dealer in the city and came away with about twelve hundred dollars. So Cornelis, a friend of mine Rob Kars and I spent that day, a Friday, in the city.

We walked to the AGNSW where we looked at Bram Bogart’s Day-break together, had a late takeaway lunch/early dinner at Circular Quay and watched Werner Herzog’s Cave of forgotten dreams in a cinema nearby. He noted that Rob and I fell asleep every so often, even though we were both otherwise absorbed by the film. Afterwards we walked from Circular Quay to Central, where Cornelis was staying in a hotel overnight. That evening George Street was like Mammon’s feast with nubile barely dressed young women dashing about. All three of us, well into our 60s, took note of that!

Cornelis had come to Sydney at my suggestion to meet Rob, my closest Dutch friend. Rob had come to stay for about 4 weeks. I had introduced them on the telephone three years before – Cornelis from my place in Sydney, Rob Kars from his in Weert in the southern province of Limburg, Netherlands. It worked a treat. They got on well by phone and soon after were sending one another hand-made cards by post. Meeting up was the next step. Rob had come halfway round the world via China, so it seemed fair to ask Cornelis to make the journey to Sydney. Glen Innes seems further than Holland to me, though Rob would have been up for it, especially after the journey he’d just made.

The next day Cornelis joined us for lunch at home on our back verandah, with my wife and a couple of other friends  – John Philippides and Willemina Villari, both artists. John is a masterly draughtsman, an Alexandrian Greek, who divides his time between his home/studio in the Blue Mountains and his home/studio in his birthplace, Alexandria. Willemina is a sculptor and painter/draughtswoman, born in Holland and married to an Italian. I think he felt at home.

Cornelis had a particular way of looking at you, or so it seemed to me – around rather than through or over his glasses and almost shyly, or was it slyly, with a hint of a smile – amusement, contentment perhaps, or was it his undoubted but idiosyncratic wisdom? That hint of a smile remained somewhat unnervingly in place, whether he was talking or not. He wasn’t given to babbling. It was as if he waited for the right moment to speak, or catch you out. He smoked, drank red wine, took part in conversation, made a number of drawings he gave to everyone and left before dark to catch the train to Central and early next morning, back to Glen Innes.

We again reverted to emailing. His were from Glen Innes public library, a good half hour walk from his small weatherboard house on the outskirts of town. His email address was cvphobia, which suited him perfectly. His letters or emails were distilled and ordered into poems, short and to the point.

Our first contact had also been by telephone, early in 2008. There were numerous telephone conversations before we met some months later in October at his house in Glen Innes. Our friendship grew out of his translations of Dutch poetry – Jan Elburg, Koos Schuur, Bert Schierbeek, Lucebert, Simon Vinkenoog, Karel Appel and others, all major figures in the renewal of Dutch culture post World War 2 – for the catalogue to an exhibition of post-war Dutch art at the AGNSW, Intensely Dutch. His translations seemed effortless, almost spontaneous and entirely convincing. I soon admired him for more than his translations. He was singular in person and poetry. Often his poetry is autobiographical. At times details about his life – words, phrases, entire poems – are in Dutch (his first language and mine) flowing freely into and around his use of English. I have collected whatever I can find of what he has written and he sent me whatever he could spare, including anything new. Before he left that Saturday evening last October, he typed all of Trivial pursuits into my computer, his parting gift, something I value even more now.

[26 May 2012]



The three of us, “young” men of precariously advanced age, are walking through East Sydney. It is our fate to be immigrant offspring to the end of our days. We are at peace with that. Better still, for years now, we have worn the label “Dutchy” as an honorary nickname. HK, who is an excellent painter, curator, and writer, walks ahead of us. He has to do that. Everywhere and always he is going at his own stiff unbeatable pace to work, even when on holiday. CV and I, RK, lag way behind him. CV, the handicapped beatnik, “excellent retired poet/dadaist from up north”, despite the fact that he left Holland at the tender age of ten, is smoking a dutch style selfrolled fag. He drags his feet a little. His shoes are too big, worn out. But he is a happy man these days. An old lady-friend has bought five of his collage works and paid him in silver bars (which she had unexpectedly inherited). And the first thing he will do once the silver has been cashed, is buy a new decent pair of boots. Me, reasonably capable, lyrical abstract painter from Weert, Netherlands, look at the ground. I like doing that in places I do not visit often. Actually, I do that everywhere, all the time. The most beautiful things, in fact, are mostly just lying around for the taking. Meanwhile CV and I are having a discussion. About zen. Of which we don’t know very much.

“All creatures are as they are, and find their mutual connection” (Zhuang Zi)

I linger to take a photograph of a traffic sign painted on the pavement. It is the internationally renowned man-with-a-hat holding the little pig-tailed girl by the hand. CV waits patiently. H is
higher up the road at the crossroads, also waiting. He looks a little guilty, one hand above his eyes, against the fierce sun. We notice a brightly coloured piece of paper lying on the ground, a magnificent street jewel. “Yes, that’s beautiful, says CV. And then, when I have picked it up and put it in my bag, “but not anymore now. Now we shall have to wait and see what comes of it...”.

Rob Kars 13/6/2012



Days and Nights in Glen Innes for Cornelis Vleeskens.

is Glen Innes Time really recyclable?
you wake up and its morning again
the same clouds nested at the compass points
a platter of blue overhead that sometimes lasts
even though you wake at any part of the morning
even after noon has trotted by apace with the wind
you wake nonetheless and don't look at the clock

should we have concern for clocks?
how are they fed? are they too wound up by our noise?
they're everywhere! no matter how many none will
ever make time! its never on hand when you want it
its unknown if it even heeds itself!

and if we saved them from the rust of laziness
in this damp mobile air would we save time
or waste time? there's no time to save i think
i think you should let it go






Salmon Wind

sounds Cyrillic!
            even at this hour!
your overspeak
is a plague!
yet nature is my period!
as if the 80's
was like making
a herbal tea
among the plankton
and the RUSH!
or were we both
RUSHing somewhere else!
an else like pursed lips!
can you excuse me
if i throw a forest
a kiss!    even
from the distance
you proffer
given now
it is further
than it now
might be!

[from an issue of  Mighty Thin Books]


Everyone's Biro.

everyone's biro
has a point!
how else explain
this enormous
amount of exclamation
marking the decease
of "plain song"?

i've just
been isolated
by a plinth!

here a bit of coral
might interfere
but walking into
a bit of marble

sure bruises


For Guido.

i'd die willingly
for an avacado!
mango mango
ah! a guitarist
without a jube!
a tube minus a tub
a tub without water
and these strings
these strings
are untuned
sing sweetly low chariot
this ride this peace
is everlasting


If This.

if this is how
our treatment
is metered out
in the broad nuance
of a block of ice
under the weather
like a cloud
hailing a taxi
in a Bangkok breeze
then the Yangtze
Bridge Club begs
for Jenni to add
a line! where's
Jenni? what good year
was that? iced over
with coffee grounds
trimmed by
a caring gardener
and a wayward
shard on an English
crisis amid
the fair mud

flapping like a stiff...
o! just like Jenni (in brief!)

and bulging eyed eyeing
the distant horizontal clouds
eyeing full eyed
in a bloated distance
mister potato stuck
with pin pricks eyes
the colloidal musk


[notes :
On Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm
Kris : i found these 3 today from the Cape Paterson days

Guido is Guido Vermeulin a dude we both knew in Brussels
when i went into his flat the first thing i saw was
a flyer for a reading in Amsterdam by Cornelis!!]


Kris Hemensley note :

A few years ago the artist Kevin Lincoln asked me if I knew of any Dutch speakers &/or poets he might be able to suggest to his curator/art historian friend, Hendrik Kolenberg, who was both generally interested but specifically hoping for assistance with translation. I offered the name of Cornelis Vleeskens; Kevin bought a couple of his collections to send to Hendrik. The rest is history : Cornelis worked on the translation of texts & poems by the COBRA poets & artists which are included in Hendrik Kolenberg's catalogue for that major exhibition. He self-published a chapbook with some of the translations; NO HOLDS BARRED (2009). 


--Westgarth, Oz, March 24th, 2013.


richard lopez said...

a wonderful collection of poems, prose, and fragments of the life in poetry. i loved spence's list of published books. vleeskens was a prolifice poet! pieces like these underscore my own belief that all writers -- artists too -- are brothers and sisters.

thanks, kris, of publishing these pieces.

Anonymous said...

came on this late .. looking for a link with cornelis for a dutchman who has an archive on comenius... of course i find it immensely moving .. i had read pete in nosukumo press in the nineties and have recently almost daily chatted and watched him work .. these fragments of memory and impressions open out a whole new world i find deeply moving .. thanks to all those who have written and to kris for having the stamina to publish .. it's good when life is restored from intense loss .. when the glints as beckett calls them make sense of the ashes (chris barron)

toni prat said...