collection

Paul van Ostaijen wrote his collection of poems, Bezette stad, during the summer of 1920. Having fled from the repression in 1918, the poet was living in Berlin at the time. He came into contact with a politically revolutionary world, which included the Dadaists George Grosz and Raoul Hausmann, and with the avant-garde movement associated with Der Sturm magazine. These contacts greatly influenced his poetry and his ideas as a whole. In Bezette stad Van Ostaijen brings the German entry into Antwerp back to life. On the basis of a markedly humanitarian approach, the poet denounces nihilism, civil authority and moral hypocrisy. The Prussian blue cover and woodcut illustrations are by the sculptor and graphic artist Oscar Jespers. His bold, rhythmical typography and cubist illustrations seem to protest  against war and suffering.