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The Emma Press


how the first sparks became visible

how the first sparks became visible


A pamphlet of poems by Simone Atangana Bekono, translated from Dutch by David Colmer.

“My silhouette opened her mouth and said

‘I exist because your body exists

Cronus devouring his children

as bloodthirsty as Goya painted him

a body become unrecognisable

greedy and chaotic

not rooted in the earth’”

Page count: 36

Publication date: 21st January 2021

Paperback ISBN 978-1-912915-55-2

Simone Atangana Bekono

Simone Atangana Bekono was born in 1991 and studied at Creative Writing ArtEZ, graduating in 2016 with "hoe de eerste vonken zichtbaar waren", a collection of poems and letters which includes the poems featured in "how the first sparks became visible". This book was republished in a commercial edition by Wintertuin Uitgeverij in collaboration with Lebowski Publishers and went on to win the Poëziedebuutprijs Aan Zee, a prize for the best Dutch-language poetry debut. In the same year, Atangana Bekono also won the prestigious Charlotte Köhler Stipendium for new Dutch writers. Her first novel, "Confrontatie", was published in Autumn 2020 by Lebowski Publishers.


Simone Atangana Bekono’s poems are vivid and arresting, with the feeling of letters or diary entries. In nine breath-taking streams of consciousness, the poet explore race, gender and sexuality, addressing the social stigmatization of race and gender and invoking empathy and human connection in a voice that is both confident and innovative.

Translated from Dutch by David Colmer, and published with the support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

‘The collection is a raw, confessional and at times unsettling exploration of identity. how the first sparks became visible is an exceptional debut collection’ The Indiependent

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 19.8 cm

Print, eBook


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