Herman De Coninck
- Category : 1944-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 1
Belgian poet, essayist, journalist and magazine publisher.
Herman de Coninck became known as "the man who taught the Flemish people to read poetry", after the 19th-century author Hendrik Conscience , who "taught them people to read".
De Coninck was born in the Flamish weavers city Mechelen. His parents had a Catholic bookshop, which enabled him and his sister to enjoy world literature at a young age. He decided to become a writer at age fifteen. He attended the Sint-Rombout College in Mechelen and wrote for the school paper. He studied Germanic philology at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he worked for the student magazine Universitas. In 1966 he became a licentiate in the Arts. He then lived in Heverlee for five years. Eventually he settled in Berchem near Antwerp .
From 1966 to 1970 De Coninck was active as a teacher; this period was however interrupted by his army service in 1967. His bundle "De lenige liefde" (1969) made him a popular poet. In 1970 he became editor at the Flemish weekly magazine Humo , where he also, together with Piet Piryns , made interviews. Later these interviews were collected in "Woe is woe in the Nedderlens".
De Coninck worked as an editor at Humo for thirteen years. The first, really profound, sport interviews are on his name. When he was tired of interviewing in 1983, he put all his talent and energy into the Nieuw Wereldtijdschrift (NWT) . As editor-in-chief of the NWT he made the first magazine in Flanders that was a cross between literature and journalism. Although the idea struck, De Coninck did not have the necessary knowledge, mainly on the economic level, to bring it to a commercially successful experiment.
On 19 November 1969 he married the An Somers, an agile girl from Mechelen and gymnastics teacher. With his first collection of poetry, "De Lenige Liefde" (Agile love, 1969), he made poetry accessible to everyone. De Coninck transformed the ordinary language and thus also the ordinary life. This made him the father of the new realism, a movement in poetry in response to the experimentalists . His indebtedness to the Tirade poets is also obvious. It became the most sold Heverlese collection of poems of the 20th century and received a number of prizes, the Yang Prize (1969) and the Prize of the Province of Antwerp (1971). In one of the poems of this collection he describes how he fathered his son, Tomas, earlier that year.
But in 1972, he, Tomas and his wife An Somers had a serious car accident. An died. He would later write: 'Ik zie je nog altijd liggen, je vingers/ smal en paars als asperges/ deze hele bleke stille vorm van jezelf-zijn die je altijd al wel had/ een streepje gestold bloed uit je mond.'
With the death of his first wife, a difficult period began in Coninck's life. A period that was another exercise for him in losses. His next collection of poetry, as long as there is snow (1975), was strongly influenced by this. He hided his emotions by playing with the language. This can clearly be seen in the poem that is most dear to him, because it is so personal: Anniversary verse. The collection was awarded the Dirk Martens Prize of the City of Aalst (1976) and the Prize of the Flemish Provinces (1978).
In the collection "Met een klank van hobo" (With a sound of oboe, 1980) he explains what poetry and love mean to him. Later De Coninck still wrote "De hectaren van het geheugen" (The hectares of memory, 1985). In these two bundles he increasingly inclines towards the romantic.
De Coninck was also prolific letter writer. He kept all the letters he received and made a copy of the letters he wrote. All in all, he left around 15,000 letters after his death. This resulted in a unique collection of letters, scribbles, etc., from which Annick Schreuder made a selection and published it in "Een aangename postumiteit "(A pleasant postum, 2004).
The life of the Coninck was marked by a few setbacks. When he was twenty-one years old, he lost his father. His first wife, An Somers, died in a car accident. He would divorce his second wife, Lieve Coppens. He found comfort with the third woman in his life, the writer Kristien Hemmerechts . The fact that he never won the Staatsprijs voor Literatuur made him feel a bit misunderstood. Nevertheless, for years he had a large influence in the Flemish literary field.
In 1997, the poet succumbed to cardiac arrest in the city of poets, Lisboa, in the arms of Anna Enquist with whom he would visit a literary conference. On the pavement where the Coninck died, a tile has been placed with his name, birth and death date. In 1998 his wife Kristien Hemmerechts published "Taal zonder mij" (Language without me) about the death of her spouse.