SONNETTO POESIA Vol 1 no 1 2002
Remco van der Zwaag
Johannes Andreas der Mouw
der Mouw's & Remco van der Zwaag's Sonnets
Thoreau and Emerson
In Memoriam Familiae
classical sonnets classiques
contemporary sonnets contemporains
contact me contactez moi
Remco van der Zwaag

Remco, who hails from the Netherlands, is a fine sonneteer in his own right, composing, not only in his native language, Dutch, but also, incidentally, in English. He is as well a truly accomplished translator of Classical Dutch Sonnets into lyrically appealing, polished English sonnets. He has translated many of Johannes Andreas van der Mouw's exquisite Sonnets.


L'écrivain en vedette du tout premier numéro du journal « Sonnetto Poesia » , Remco van der Zaag, des Pays-Bas, sait composer des sonnets les plus exquis, non seulement en hollandais, mais aussi en anglais. Comme traducteur accompli de la poésie classique des Pays-Bas, il s'y connaît particulièrement dans la traduction des sonnets en anglais, surtout ceux de Johan Andreas der Mouw. Avouons tout simplement que les sonnets en anglais qui en résultent sont aussi de petits chefs-doeuvre.

Remco van der Zwaag 2002
Remco van der Zwaag

Remco van der Zwaag's Autobiography:

By profession I am a teacher of mathematics. My tastes in the Arts bear witness to this. I like a work of art to be clearly structured. In music, this would explain my love of the works by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the realm of poetry, my preferences run to rhyme and metre.

The sonnet is my favourite form. It derives its structure from the dichotomy between octave and sestet, the rhyming scheme and its use of mainly iambic pentameter.

To write a sonnet is to struggle with all of these elements. The challenge is to write in a way that does not betray this struggle. For instance, no line should be visibly rhyme-driven. All of this transforms writing a good sonnet into a challenge to the mind and also, from time to time the structure forces lines on you that would otherwise in all probability not have presented themselves.


Johan Andreas der Mouw, a Dutch poet of the early 20th century, was a very fine sonneteer. It is unfortunate his poems are not widely read in the Netherlands. Sadly, outside of this country they are unknown. For this reason, I have undertaken to translate a few of them into English. A short biography of Der Mouw and an introduction to his poetry can be found on my website, to which Richard has provided the link below.

My translations of three of der Mouws Sonnets are published in this E-zine. Hopefully they will now find some exposure to the international readership I feel they deserve.

© by Remco van der Zwaag, 2002

Remco's Home Page is at: Le portail de Remco se trouve ici :