Herman Van Rompuy


Herman Van Rompuy

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Herman Van Rompuy
(born 31 October 1947),
sometimes known as Haiku Herman, is the first long term and full time President of the European Council (until the Treaty of Lisbon, the position had rotated among the Prime Ministers of the Member States for six months each, since then they choose a President of their meetings for a 2 1/2 year period, renewable once). A Belgian politician of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party, he served as the 49th Prime Minister of Belgium from 30 December 2008 until his predecessor (Yves Leterme) succeeded him on 25 November 2009.
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Twee dagen weg.
Fruitbomen in volle bloei
Alles is anders.

His personal BLOG


Drie golven rollen
Samen de haven binnen
Het trio is thuis'

Three waves roll
Along the harbour
The trio's home

source : Haiku Information


Examples, translated from Dutch:

Haiku traditionally evoke an experience of the natural world, and a walk with Louis - in the woods or fields near his home - provides Mr Van Rompuy with subject matter morning and evening.

I see my breath -
steam in the winter air.
Heat in the cold.

Birds in concert.
One sings above all others.
I don't know its name.

"I write haiku in the evening, just before sleeping, and I wake up with the poem of the day before," Mr Van Rompuy says.

He was bitten by the haiku habit in the early Noughties, through a friendship with the man known as Flanders' Father of Haiku - an elderly priest, Bart Mesotten - who gave him one of his books.

Mr Van Rompuy "fell in love" with the miniature verses and, with Mr Mesotten's encouragement, started writing them too.

His poems began to appear in Belgian newspapers. In April a book of them will be published, with the Dutch original on one page, and, on the facing page, translations into French, English, German and Latin. (Mr Van Rompuy studied Latin at university, before going on to do a postgraduate degree in Economics.)

There is one, though, that they really like, he adds - a tribute to their mother, which hangs in the living room of the family home.

I look around the house.
None of it came about because of me.
Only you are mine.

This haiku, he wrote, had "an ecstatic aspect to it, which is… in the best tradition of the form":

Light on the sea is
Brighter than on land.
Heaven is breathing.

Fiona Sampson, poet and editor of Poetry Review, says reading Mr Van Rompuy's haiku is like looking at "someone's holiday snaps".

"The whole scenario says 'Low Countries', and is easy to visualise," she says of the following example, "I can see the pleasure taken in the scene portrayed":

A cyclist approaches.
Doves scatter from the corn.
A clap of wings.

Bart Mesotten, Flanders' Father of Haiku, says Mr Van Rompuy is "not a real poet, but he loves haiku, and he writes very good haiku".

source : news.bbc.co.uk


'Haiku Herman' van Rompuy
launches his first poetry book entitled... 'Haiku'

Thursday, 15 April 2010

After regularly publishing his latest creations on his personal blog, sufficient demand has led to a book deal in which a selection will appear in a hardback collection, simply entitled ‘Haiku’.

The 40 or so poems in the anthology, all written over the past six years, have been collated under chapter headings such as 'seasons', 'moments' and 'on the road’ and will be available for only a lucky few since only 2,500 copies of the book have been produced.
source : andrewjburgess-eu.blogspot.com


Thinned out and grown bald,
You can now see through the wood
All the way to spring.

EU president extols the virtues of haiku
The Japan Times Online 28 Apr 2010
EU president publishes haiku collection
A longtime haiku fan, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy not only likes reading the traditional poems but also loves to write them in his native Dutch.


Herman Van Rompuy


Friday, April 20, 2012 - NHK news

"Tourist Haiku Post Box"

Haiku post installed in Brussels

Traditional Japanese Haiku poetry has fans across the world. One of them,
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy,
dropped his favorite haiku into a box in Belgium.

Japan's EU office in Brussels set up a postbox for collecting haiku on Thursday - the first of its kind outside Japan. The move is part of efforts to promote cultural exchange.
The box is shaped like an old hot-spring building in Matsuyama city, said to be the center of modern haiku.
The best writer wins a trip to the city.

At the ceremony, Japan's UN Ambassador Kojiro Shiojiri said he hoped to deepen heart-to-heart exchanges between the people of Japan and the EU.
The European Council President recited his favorite English haiku, "Flowering orchards born again every year. I welcome the blossoms." And he dropped it in the box.
Van Rompuy said the poems suit his character, as he loves nature and the seasons. He hopes the postbox will help increase the number of haiku lovers and deepen ties between Japan and the EU.
source : www3.nhk.or.jp


October 04, 2013 - NHK news

Van Rompuy releases 2nd haiku anthology

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has released his 2nd anthology of haiku -- Japanese poems of 17 syllables.
Van Rompuy, who is a haiku aficionado, published the collection 3 years after his first.
He attended a meeting to unveil the work at the Japanese Embassy in Brussels, the capital of his home country Belgium, on Thursday.

The former Belgian prime minister said he is looking forward to visiting Matsuyama City in western Japan when he attends a Japan-EU summit next month. The city is known as the capital of haiku.

The collection contains 34 haiku divided into 4 sections according to the seasons of the year.
Each of the poems, written originally in Flemish, was translated into English, French, German and Japanese.

One written right after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident reads:

The three disasters.
Storms turn into a soft wind.
A new, humane wind.

Another about his heavy workload as EU president reads:

Wrapped in my work;
all the while the wheat is growing
ever taller.

Van Rompuy explained how writing the poetry helps support his busy life, saying that the practice gives him peace of mind and calmness.


November 16, 2013 - NHK news

Van Rompuy reads haiku in poetry city of Matsuyama

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has unveiled a "haiku" Japanese-style poem in praise of Matsuyama, the city known for its traditional poetry.

Van Rompuy, a noted haiku aficionado, visited the city on Monday ahead of an EU-Japan summit to be held in Tokyo the following day.

He went to a museum commemorating Shiki Masaoka, a leading poet of modern Japan who hailed from Matsuyama. He presented the museum director with a copy of his second haiku anthology, published last month.

Van Rompuy also visited Matsuyama Castle and received a collection of haiku written by local elementary school children. The collection's theme is friendship.

Then he introduced his haiku, which reads:

How these short stanzas
Can make a city greater
Haiku capital

Van Rompuy said his visit to Matsuyama made him want to compose more haiku.
He also said Europe has many haiku lovers, and he hopes that exchanges between the EU and Japan through the traditional form of poetry will deepen.

Related words

***** Introducing Haiku Poets 


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