WORDS BY RYAN PEARCE
From the extraordinary to the simple everyday, inspiration can be found in a variety of places. What we do with that inspiration, how we process it and make use of it, differs from person to person. For local wordsmith Kees Nydam, inspiration finds its way onto the pages laid before him.
After 45-years practicing medicine, Kees made the decision to publish a book of poetry, titled Poems and Other Fairy Tales 1968 – 2020. A memoir of sorts, the self-published collection of prose and illustrations spans from his early schooling days until now.
“I grew up in New Guinea where all of the kids had ukuleles and guitars, and would sit around in a circle under the coconut tree and strum a song or two,” Kees said.
“Music has long been an inspiration for me creatively. I started writing because the process of writing a song begins with writing poetry.”
Music comparisons are easy to attach to Kees’ poetry. There are poems that emulate protest punk songs, while others are reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s dark, noir-tinged humour. It is no coincidence then to find many of Kees’ poems have been converted to song.
“Around 25 of my poems have had a rebirthing as a song. Along with this, I’m currently working on a piece of music theatre,” he said.
Music is not the only muse to spark Kees’ creativity. Travel has influenced his output.
“Travelling through Germany or Hungary, when you’re in a little village, you can hear, smell and feel the history. Recently, however, I have discovered that you don’t just find that overseas. It’s also an experience you can have locally, in rural Queensland.”
Going by the alias Doctor Verse, Kees said he’d had a recent explosion in creative output, penning roughly 50 poems in the past year. It’s enabled him to mentally refresh away from his long-term medical career, and spend more time on something he calls his “side hustle”.
“My mission is to scour the universe. To capture, then prescribe, a few healing words,” Kees said.
“To quote Russian playwright, Anton Chekhov: ‘medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress. When I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other’.”