Martinus Nijhoff  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Martinus Nijhoff (April 20 1894, The Hague -January 26 1953, The Hague) was a Dutch poet and essayist. He studied literature in Amsterdam and law in Utrecht. His debut was made in 1916 with his volume De wandelaar ("The wanderer"). From that moment he gradually expanded his reputation by his unique style of poetry: not experimental, like Paul Van Ostaijen, yet distinguished by the clarity of his language combined with mystical content. He always crafted his poetry in traditional rhymed verses and frequently used the sonnet.

Some of his best known works include Het Uur U ("H Hour", 1936) and the long poem Awater (1934). A number of individual sonnets also rose to fame, particularly De Moeder de Vrouw ("The Mother the Woman/Wife") commemorating the opening of a bridge over the river Waal near Zaltbommel.

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