Jan Steyn interviews David Colmer in The American Reader:
JS: Can you say a word or two about the place of Claus in Dutch letters and in translation before this volume?
DC: If you talk about post-war Dutch-language literature, writers who emerged after the war and dominated the new literary scene for the decades that followed, Claus was clearly the leading Belgian and on a comparable level to the “Big Three” in the Netherlands: Hermans, Reve and Mulisch (Hermans has been picked up recently but Reve still remains virtually unknown in English). The difference between them is Claus’s enormous range and productivity; he produced so much in so many genres that, in Flanders at least, it’s hard to overestimate his cultural importance. A number of his novels have been translated into English and been critically well received, but his poetry has had a much more marginal existence. There was one book-length collection, but that stayed pretty much under the radar, and otherwise the poems have mostly appeared in fairly minor journals and magazines. Coetzee did include a series of Claus’s poems in Landscape with Rowers, his anthology of Dutch poetry, and I think that was the one notable exception in terms of getting Claus’s poetry into the public eye in English.
Read the full interview here.