Born in Bitgum in Friesland in 1955. A small village with a history that goes back to Roman times. Studied English and Friesian at university for about two years. After that all kind of odd jobs until I was given a contract as a video-editor at an institute with a vast film-archive in Leeuwarden. With much pleasure I worked there until a nasty illness put me out of work. Since then full-time poet. Started writing prose and poetry at secondary school and started to publish only when I was in my thirties in various literary magazines. Only writing poetry now.
In the dark recesses of my mind
The urge grows
To turn into words
What I never think about
As pithily as possible
To surprise the unspeakable
Emptiness is a word in the eyes of the people on closed wards you should feel the way that word slides down your face to your shoulders you should look bashfully at eyes which don't see anymore they read through me to an unknown hinterland where we lose one another to time the word has become a dream © Tsjisse Hettema Tabula Rasa / Skjin Laai (Tresoar, 2018, s. 26) Translation: Trevor Scarse
Tsjisse Hettema reads his poem ‘Tabula Rasa’ in the original Frisian version.