– a sad song in happy tunes

I want to live on Spotify
Where I can sing until I die
Along with all my singing friends
On whom nobody money spends

We left this old BitTorrent site
Our goal: a future to unite
Where music streams as if it’s air
On who’s behalf, we didn’t care

They told us everything was new
They promised cash for every view
Turned out there was no video
So all we sang was: no no no!

It turned into a lonely place
There was no singer with a face
And no artist earned a dime
So each new song became a crime

Ruben van Gogh

Ruben van Gogh, who used to call himself The Man of Language, is a performing poet, libretto writer and host. He has published 7 collections, and over 10 opera’s based on his librettos were performed.


His voice is unique within Dutch poetry, combining clarity and wit with metaphysical aspirations. His work is available in the collection Aan het eind van het begin (At the End of the Beginning, 2001), Zoekmachines (Search Engines, 2002), Klein Oera Linda (Oera Linda Minor, 2006) a collection in experimental lay-out reflecting contemporary society and culture, Hier begint het leven (Life begins here, 2013), De Jeumont-Heidmann Schakelwals (The Jeumont-Heidmann Switch Roller, 2015) and Nikola – Een soort van antenne (Nikola – a kind of antenna, 2018).
In Italy a collection of his work was published in 2006, l’Homo Lingua.

Van Gogh has been very active in the 21st century, all over the world: he contributed to the Taipei International Poetry Festival in Taiwan, Dichter aan Huis in The Hague and the Stockholms Poesifestival. He performed on stages in Milan, Biddinghuizen (Lowlands Festival), Capetown, Madrid, Sarajevo and Shanghai. He hosted at the Rotterdam Poetry International and The Hague Winternachten. Translations of his work are avaible in the English, French, Swedish, Italian, German, Albanian, Spanish and Chinese language.


As a libretto writer, he made his debute at Yo! Opera Festival, for which he wrote two libretti for so-called ‘Bus Opera’s’, as well as an ode to water. And for Dario Fo (Westland – Greenhouse aria), now called Kwekers in de Kunst, he wrote two musicals and two operas. In 2012 his (translated in) English opera NIKOLA – a Techno Opera in 4D Sound was performed.

Documentary about the opera NIKOLA – a Techno Opera in 4D Sound

During the last years his opera’s were staged in churches (Martine & Martinus), industrial halls (Werkspoor Korenopera) and even different locations for each act in his opera about refugees (Stadsopera Onderweg). In may his translation of Menotti’s: The Boy who grew too Fast will be staged on the Dutch National Opera. Currently he is translating his second opera in Dutch for the Dutch National Opera: Jonathan Dove’s: The Monster in the Maze, this opera will be staged in June 2020. Currently he is working on part II of his industrial heritage-opera Werkspoor. Later on he will write a libretto for a quantumfysics opera.

You can watch some samples of his songs and operas on his YouTube-playlist.

Smart-phone Art

Over a year now, Ruben van Gogh is creating photo-art on his smartphone. He was nominated for the Phonographer Smart-photo award in the section Art. In his photo’s he is mixing sceneries with manipulated creatures: humanoids and windowdolls. Or he is upgrading anonymous 19th century paintings to the 21st century by including helicopters, plains or windowdolls. You can watch them on Instagram and even buy some of them, from Germany at Oh My Prints, from France at it’s French page over here and internationally at redbubble.