Saturday, June 11, 2011

"It is as if the art of poetry, of all things, were the blind spot in the cultural memory of modern man" - Durs Grünbein, from 'The Poem and its Secret'.

I've mentioned Grünbein a few times now since I picked up his Selected Poems: Ashes for Breakfast, almost by chance, at StAnza this year. I don't mind admitting that I've been neglecting my chosen poets and focusing my reading mainly on Grünbein and Claire Crowther over the last few months. What I've learned from the reading experiment is that for me to be able to progress in my writing means having to stop reading my old favourites (mainly Plath, Akhmatova, Eliot). It's been hard, so many times I've wanted to wallow in the old familiar, adored, poetry. Of course that wasn't the only poetry I was reading but I hadn't realised I was reading other poetry slightly disingenuously, not giving it the level of focus and attention that I automatically reserved for the old favourites.  In denying myself the big three and in order to satisly my poetry fix I've definitely learned to read other poetry with a deeper focus. So, for now, Grünbein and Crowther have become my Plath and Eliot. I'm still reading other poetry but at the moment returning, with joy, to these two poets. I know at some point I'll have to give them up the same way I've given up the other three in order to move on but it's been an interesting lesson to learn. I'm also looking forward to the point where I'll have (hopefully) developed my writing such that I'll come full circle and be able to wallow in my old favourites from a new perspective.  I'll be coming back to Grünbein's Selected Poems in another post.

I was delighted to read these lovely thoughts on Vintage Sea on the swiss lounge blog, made my day!

Starry Rhymes, the pamphlet launched at the Allen Ginsberg event is now available for purchase here. A limited print run, every pamphlet handmade with love! It includes poems by Sally Evans, the Gaelic poet Aonghas MacNeil, Morgan Downie, Eddie Gibbons and li'l ol' me! And if you haven't heard enough about the Ginsberg event already...there are photos!! One of me looking like I'm singing a solo from a hymn sheet here, honestly I was reading poems!!


Andrew Shields said...

When I first read Grünbein in the spring of 1995, I found his work quite off-putting, but intriguing enough to begin translating a bit. Over time, my involvement with his poems and essays rubbed off on my own writing in all sorts of good ways. And I think it was largely able to do so precisely because of the distance between his sensibility (as presented in his poems) and mine. A wonderful, and wonderfully unique poet indeed!

I love watching his work slowly being noticed in the English-speaking world since the selected poems came out. I'm struck by how different the readers are who have been captivated by his work.

(Did you quote "The Poem and Its Secret" from the essay collection or from the version on the Poetry website? Glad you enjoyed it!)

Marion McCready said...

from the website, though I loved the essay so I'll be adding the collection to my amazon basket!

do you have links to your translations of his poems? I'd be interested to see how they read in comparison to the Hofmann translations.

Roxana said...

thank you for pointing Grünbein to me, i have started reading it (whatever i can find on the web for now) and i can't wait to see you come back to him soon.

ps. that is quite the photo! :-)

Titus said...

Love that quote, I need to investigate.

And supercool photo!

Marion McCready said...

roxana, titus, it's a great essay isn't it, I've got a Grünbein book wish-list now!