Ingmar Heytze is a poet, writer, columnist, performer and presenter. His twelfth collection of poems: Ik wilde je iets moois vertellen (I wanted to tell you something beautiful), appeared in October 2018. As a columnist he worked for, among others, magazines Onze Taal, Kijk and newspapers de Volkskrant and AD Utrechts Nieuwsblad.
He has performed as a poet and sometimes as musician at festivals such as Lowlands, and the reprise of Poetry in Carré in 2006 and last years de Nacht van de Poëzie (The Night of Poetry) which is an annual Utrecht poetry festival for over 2000 visitors, for which he has also provided programming and co-presentation for several years.
In 2000, Ingmar Heytze was hired by museum director Sjarel Ex to work as ‘huisfilosoof’ (‘house philosopher’, comparable to the position of ‘company’s fool’) at the Central Museum in Utrecht for nine months.
From 2009 to 2011 he was the first official City poet of Utrecht. In 2008 he received the C.C.S. Crone Award for his entire oeuvre and in 2016 the Maartenspenning (The Medal of Martin, the Patron Saint of Utrecht) of the city of Utrecht.
Voor de liefste onbekende (To the dearest unknown) the collected poems 1985-2015, appeared in the spring of 2016. The second edition of Utrecht voor beginners en gevorderden (Utrecht for beginners and the advanced), his collected poems about Utrecht from the same period, appeared in 2017.
Ingmar Heytze currently is the highest recorded living author in the Utrecht Literary Canon as presented by Het Literatuurhuis.
Did you study creative writing?
No, I don’t think there was something like that available in Holland when I started writing poetry at age of fifteen (1985) or when it was time to choose an academic education in 1988. I studied Algemene Letteren (Humanities/Communication Science) instead. I have taught Poetry for about ten years at the HKU though. I wish something like their ‘Creative Writing/Writing for performance’ education had been available in my college years.
Do you have heroes or is your work unique?
I like to think have so many heroes in so many places, all those influences make my own work unique, because there is no chance anyone else should have exactly the same heroes, nor is influenced by their work in the same order or amount.
Which of your collections is your favourite?
That’s an easy one. The collection Ik wilde je iets moois vertellen (I wanted to tell you something beautiful), contains almost all my poetry from the past 30 years.
Are they translated into English?
Some of them have been translated in the past. Actually, my publisher is trying to go international with a selection of my poetry. Don’t know if it ever will happen though, but I would embrace the opportunity.
Are you working on a new collection?
Right know I’m trying to get my head around two books, due for April: a non-fiction book about artist Wim T. Schippers, one of Holland’s most famous artists, which is a co-project with Vrouwkje Tuinman, also a writer and poet living in Utrecht, she also does a lot of prose and poetry readings in England and Germany.
Then there is Game of poems, a book in collaboration with poets Ellen Deckwitz and Thomas Möhlmann, containing a poem about every episode of Game of Thrones.
Then I will finish with a book about guitars and why men of a certain age are so attracted to collecting them, the book will be called Gitaartoerisme.
After that, we’ll see what happens. I think it will be quite a while before I release a new volume of poetry.
I see you use music in your performances, is that an important part of them?
To me it is. Although I love to perform just reading poetry, and most of my performances are like that, working with musicians is so much fun and like most poets, I would rather have been a musician.
Is Utrecht a particularly poetic city?
Well, it’s certainly old and beautiful enough for any writer, poet and thinker to feel at home. Having a university certainly helps.
What piece of work(s) are you most proud of?
I usually don’t take the time to sit around being proud of anything, but I have been a father for almost six years now, and I’m still alive. I’m kind of proud of that.
Does Utrecht inspire you as a person?
Maybe in the way most cities inspire most people: half the time you’re thinking of leaving, but you never do. The things that keep me around apparently are inspiring enough.
Where is your favourite place in Utrecht?
On a clear day, you should try to get to the roof of the Springhaver Parking at sunset. It’s got a wonderful view on the old and the new city. Also, you can’t see the parking itself when you stand on top of it, which is good, because it’s hideous. Be friendly the guards who come checking on you, though. They are cool, but they WILL kick you out if they don’t trust you.
What would be a perfect day in Utrecht for you?
Any day I can write good new stuff on my laptop and play poor stuff on my guitar.
Does Utrecht do enough for creative arts?
Yeah, they do OK. There is always room for improvement though, there is a bit too much focus on the big events and organisations who draw the attention away from the smaller artists on the rise, who could use some help. Still, I’m quite happy with how things are here. Utrecht is being run WAY better that our country as a whole.
Would you like to see more activities?
I think we’re kind of set on the amount of concerts, plays an performances we can visit, and that’s great. I would rather see some more support on working artists, especially in the fine arts, but also in popular music (Kytopia and such).
I Also think Utrecht needs a permanent Writer’s Residence in the heart of the city, suited for international guests.