Guido Gezelle (1830-1899) was a Roman Catholic priest and teacher and one of the greatest 19th-century Flemish poets. Independent of all literary movements, he ushered in a rebirth of Flemish poetry with his volume “Kerkhofblommen” (Graveyard Flowers, 1858).
His poetry was a unique mixture of traditional literary Dutch with the dialect of his own West Flanders. His passionate literary and nationalistic beliefs led to conflicts with ecclesiastical and educational authorities, which caused him to stop writing poetry between 1870 and 1875.
During this time he wrote essays and translations. But Gezelle returned to the brilliance of his earlier poetry in “Tijdkrans” (Time's Garland, 1893) and “Rijmsnoer” (String of Rhymes, 1897).
Typically, the poems in these volumes deal with nature, religion, and Flemish nationalism and display an original use of rhyme, metaphor, and sound.