The book En de kookaburra lacht… Brieven van een emigrant (And the kookaburra laughs… Letters from an emigrant) is a collection of letters written by Koos Schuur, a Dutch poet, writer, and translator. The letters were edited by Jan Elburg and Salvador Hertog and published by De Bezige Bij in 1953. The book contains Schuur’s impressions and experiences of living in Australia, where he emigrated with his family in 1951. The book also reflects on his literary career and his contacts with other Dutch writers. The book was reprinted in 1966 and 1988.
Fata Morgana voor Nederlanders en andere gedichten is another book by Koos Schuur. It is a collection of poems published by De Bezige Bij in 1956. The book contains original poems by Schuur, as well as translations of poems by French symbolists and surrealists, and Anglo-American poets from the 1930s and 1940s, such as Ezra Pound, David Gascoyne, Dylan Thomas, and Kenneth Patchen.
The title of the book means “Mirage for Dutchmen and other poems” in English. A fata morgana is a type of optical illusion that creates distorted images of objects on the horizon. The book reflects Schuur’s interest in experimental and visionary poetry, as well as his experience of living abroad in Australia.
The book has 80 pages but is not available online, but it can be borrowed from some libraries in the Netherlands.
Koos Schuur was born in 1915 in Veendam and studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He worked as a journalist and a resistance fighter during World War II. He was one of the founders of the literary magazine Het Woord and one of the precursors of the experimental poetry movement known as the Vijftigers. He published several poetry collections, such as Windverhaal (1941), Novemberland (1943), and Herfst, hoos en hagel (1946).
Koos Schuur migrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 1951 with his wife Caroline Bigot and their two sons Jan and Kees. He settled in the Sydney suburb of Harbord, where he worked as a journalist and a translator. He also continued to write poetry and prose, which he sent to his friends and publishers in the Netherlands.
Schuur was interested in Australian literature and culture. He translated works by Australian authors into Dutch, such as Patrick White, Henry Lawson, Judith Wright, Hal Porter, and Xavier Herbert.
Schuur’s marriage with Caroline Bigot ended in divorce, and he remarried another woman. He returned to the Netherlands in 1962 with his second wife and their daughter. He left behind his two sons from his first marriage, who stayed in Australia with their mother.
He received several literary awards, such as the Verzetsprijs voor letterkundigen (1945), the Hendrik de Vriesprijs (1948), and the Tollensprijs (1988). He kept on translating works by authors such as Günter Grass, Heinrich Heine, Arthur Koestler, Ezra Pound, J.D. Salinger, and Dylan Thomas.
Back in the Netherlands he worked as an editor at De Bezige Bij and ECI.
He died in 1995 in Almere.