Lies Van Gasse

Belgium

Lies Van Gasse (1983) is a Flemish poet and artist. After numerous publications in journals, her debut collection Hetzelfde gedicht steeds weer (The same poem over and over again) was published in 2008. This was followed by Brak de Waterdrager (Broke the Water Carrier) (2011), M (2012, bibliophile edition) and Wenteling (Revolution) (2013).

Van Gasse introduced the genre of the graphic poem, a mixed format of words and images, into the Dutch-speaking region. In 2010, her first graphic poem, Sylvia, was published followed later by Zand op een zeebed (Sand on a sea bed) (2015). Not only does she combine words and images in her graphic poems, but she also makes use of the uniqueness of the genre to enter into a poetic dialogue with fellow authors. In 2011, together with Peter Theunynck, she created an adaptation of his debut collection, Waterdicht (Waterproof). Together with Annemarie Estor, in the period 2009-2013, she set up a multidisciplinary project around the figure of Caspar Hauser that resulted in a book, an exhibition and a multimedia show. Her performance in a Mongolian poetry festival was given shape in Een stem van paardenhaar (A voice of horsehair) (2014), which she created together with Bas Kwakman.

Lies Van Gasse’s work was awarded the Prize of the Province of East Flanders and her graphic work has already been exhibited in very many places.


Lies Van Gasse (1983) is truly doubly gifted. Her debut collection Hetzelfde gedicht steeds weer (The same poem over and over again) (2008) already contained a few of her drawings, but it is only since her second collection Sylvia (2010) that the graphic and textual elements stand side by side on an equal footing. Indeed, with this bundle, she introduced the Dutch-speaking region to the genre of the graphic poem, a mixture of poetry and graphic work in which both aspects affect each other and complement each other.

Not only does she combine words and images in her graphic poems, but she also makes use of the uniqueness of the genre to enter into a poetic dialogue with fellow authors. In 2011, together with Peter Theunynck, she created a graphic adaptation of his debut collection, Waterdicht (Waterproof). Together with Annemarie Estor, in the period 2009-2013, she set up a multidisciplinary project around the figure of Caspar Hauser. Van Gasse and Estor started a correspondence that gave rise to a book (Het Boek Hauser, The Book of Hauser, 2013), an exhibition and a multimedia performance. Her performance in a Mongolian poetry festival was given shape in Een stem van paardenhaar (A voice of horsehair) (2014), a book of drawings and writings which she created together with Bas Kwakman. In 2015, she presented her latest solo project, for the time being, Zand op een zeebed (Sand on a sea bed).

Key themes in Van Gasse’s work are on the one hand nature and landscape and on the other hand desire and love. Van Gasse presents these themes in a cyclical context rather than as a linear reality. Significantly, in this context, the title of her collection is Wenteling (Revolution) (2013). The cyclical aspect of nature lies not only in the passage of the seasons, but also in the motif of the journey that doesn’t lead to a clear destination, but always seems to end up at a new starting point. The theme of desire is also worked out cyclically as a search for acknowledgement/appreciation of the other, in which the I-figure searches, finds, loses and then attempts to re-create the other again by means of language.

Lies Van Gasse’s work lives not only in books. Her graphic work has been repeatedly exhibited, inter alia at the Watou Arts Festival. Not only did Het Boek Hauser take the form of an extensive travelling exhibition, but it was also developed into a multimedia performance, in which not only Lies Van Gasse and Annemarie Estor were involved, but in which a number of the ancillary characters from the book were also brought to life by other poets. Lies Van Gasse is also active in the band Electric Sheep, for which she writes the lyrics and also draws video clips.

Lies Van Gasse is also a participant in the pool of poets in De Eenzame Uitvaart (The Lonely Funeral), a poetry initiative in which poets write a personal poem for a lone dead person and also read it at the funeral of the deceased.

Lies Van Gasse’s work was awarded the Literary Prize of Harelbeke (2005) and the Prize of the Province of East Flanders (2011).