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Esther Jansma
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Esther JansmaEsther Jansma was born in Amsterdam. She is a poet whose work is internationally recognised and published frequently, most recently in Dakruiters (Roof Turrets) (De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam 2000). For which she won the Hughes C. Pernath Award in 2001. She has also been published in many poetry and prose magazines, anthologies and collections.

She is an archaeologist by profession, currently Head of Research Department, Environment and Heritage, National Service for Archaeological Heritage in The Netherlands. She can therefore look at Hadrian's Wall with an unusually informed eye.

Esther's poetry is intensely personal, and contains autobiographical and family-related imagery.
"Jansma is a past master in bringing home to the reader the convergence of death and life, of holding on and letting go, of having and not understanding, and this is what makes her one of the most important poets of our time." Koen Vergeer, The Low Countries (TLC), Arts and Society in Flanders and The Netherlands 9, Stichting ons Erfdeel 2001, pp. 257-259.

Esther spent time exploring the line of Hadrian's Wall which includes the areas where Friesian and Schelt Auxiliaries and other individuals were stationed - Rochester, Brocolita, Housesteads, Burgh by sands and Maryport.

She also visited other sites along the wall line to complete her research. She gave an important and impressive reading at Housesteads, where she read her poems in the original Dutch, which were then read in English by Francis R Jones, an internationally important translator, based in Northumberland.

Esther's visit also enabled a bringing together of Bloodaxe Books, Esther and Francis which has created a collaboration which is hopefully leading to Esther's first book of verse published in English, which will add to the stock of international writing available in translated form.

 

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