Emmanuel LOOTEN, Poet

Emmanuel LOOTEN (1908-1974)


Emmanuel LOOTEN is a French poet born November 6, 1908, in Bergues, and died June 30, 1974.

He will publish many works, theatre plays but especially books of poetry ; he was also the author of literary or artistic criticism.

Emmanuel LOOTEN was strongly influenced by his native region, Flanders. He has published more than 80 collections of poems and essays and was surely one of the greatest poets of French Flanders.

His texts were not widely distributed and very few printed, but they received the response of ones of great artists, and deserve to be discovered or rediscovered : « A cloche-rêve », « Sur ma rive de chair », « La saga de Lug Hallewijn », « Liturgies Flamandes », « Nada » …

He received, amongst others as a reward in 1946, the Grand Prix des lettres of the Sciences and Arts Society of Lille and the Prix Verlaine in 1948, by the French Poets Society for his work “The Fabulous Opera”.

Below are two poems by this great Flemish poet dedicated to his hometown :


My north is cold, iron cold.
Our opened skies are hard
In their pallor of soft porcelain.
I see these old lifeless quays and their overgrown canals
From cobblestones, pride twist my knotted city 
In its sovereign walls.
My country is ennobled by what it has suffered,
No one will be victorious of his strength to wait :
My Flanders is warm, like a heart.

My city is a joy

Bergues noble City, pure symbol of Flanders
In the heart of our fields so vastly fertile,
Rough winds, whirling these unwholesome stench of marshlands,
Mewed storms on the Belfry's curves.
Sprung out of our plains, on the sea regained,
These houses curving the calm thread of stones.
Soft tiles, pinked in these slight shades,
Spreading in cascade the balance of the plans.
Remains of mysticism, the Abbey, so many churches,
Monuments surviving the bites of wars ;
And the rough ring, tracing the old city wall
Peppered with memorable doors ...
One rusty evening evaporates my city :
Country of remembrance where reflections lights up.
In the sun curling with gold, the agony of the walls,
Sink tragically in the darkness of purple ...
Then will fall asleep and the bird and the street,
Gray-silver faded the strange Nekerstorre ...
Have I seen through these shadows the joys of a proud Past,
These fabulous giants, wandered silence ...