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Preface to “Poems from Germany”


     Guest Edited by Ron Winkler and Christian Lux

A sketch. A concentrate. A sum of the digits. An excerpt. An aroma. A gust. A hint. There are many ways to seize the being and essence, the dimension and depth of a thing without displaying it in its totality. Our endeavour relies on this principle. By undertaking a cursory tour through the poems of seventeen young German poets, we will aim at a depiction and a sensual illustration of the kinds of poetries currently to be found among young German poets.

We’re living in highly plural times; this is also conveyed within this selection of poetry. There are no dominating schools within contemporary German poetry—clusters at most: amorphous entities, elastic in their formation, with similar aesthetic interests. And if there are generations at all, they are intertwined with each other.

Many different possible prospects of poetry’s attractiveness are explored simultaneously by a large number of poets, already drawing attention to themselves in their younger years. One could even go so far as to speak of a ‘boom’. Poets find multipliers within the numerous newly founded magazines and publishing houses that in turn put their attention towards revitalizing the interplay between good literature and appealing, vanguard artistic surroundings. Whoever may dip into this cosmos, this microcosm, will get to know the true promise of poetic concepts that are almost as numerous as the number of their authors. We can find exercises in esprit, sensual-sensualized texts exploring the self or poems that display astonishingly plausible ‘implausible versions’ of the Now. In a seemingly diffuse present, a lot of the texts exhibit a tendency towards the erratic, the aestheticisation of slatternliness, or the cultivation of skirmish ferocity. The sublime and the irritatingly ragged form compounds of varied intensities.

The poem remains a point of intersection for young poets: between serious, tradition-conscious writing and hermetically wilful writing.

Sometimes a poem is simply present, quite like a witness, when a single moment is met by singular significance. Precise perception, precise invention, or precise experimentation—one or more of these might be the incentives behind these authors’ writing.

Language becomes the medium of charismatic images. Emanations of a curiosity-invoking curiosity.

Ron Winkler, translated by Johannes CS Frank


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