30 January 2008

better late than never: mischa strümpel's evening machine

i've been working on this translation for a while, and could finally finish it early this morning. mischa had offered his help earlier on in the process, but since i'm a total nerd at heart, i wanted to get this translation done all by myself. below you will find his original, as per usual.

Evening Machine

saline night, the eyes across one
more uncolourful enthusiasm, the enthusiasm

for the uncolourful. Something is on- something else is

offended, turns mute, viz.

burns, clean, surplusless. Of that raise a monument.

And above the right eye everything, and everything

once more pushed forth, the unclasped force

the blonde tongue, massive herein.

Aperture on aperture on forehead

will you break through cheek skin? blink dim

the phrases, two times no idea.


salzige Nacht, die Augen gehen über
eine unbunte Begeisterung, die Begeisterung

fürs Unbunte. Etwas ist aus-, etwas anderes

eingeschnappt, setzt an zu schweigen, d. h.

brennt, sauber, überflusslos. Davon ein Denkmal.

Und über dem rechten Auge alles, und alles

dann herausgetrieben, die losgelassene Kraft

die blonde Zunge, schwer hinein.

Blende auf Blende an der Stirn

dringst durch die Wangen du? blinkst ab

zu Sätzen, keine Ahnung, und die zweimal.

27 January 2008

(picture taken from postsecret.)

resistance at work

here's an anti-globalization documentary called the fourth world war.
it contains some pretty rough material and may not be suited for everybody to watch.
if you still want to go ahead, i hope you guys are over sixteen and speak some spanish.

...remember, though, that in whatever direction you're moving, VIOLENCE IS NOT THE WAY TO GO!

i'm linking to this just because i want to remind all of us that in some areas of the world, life is far less comfortable than where we live.

24 January 2008

ich habe zu meinem eigenen hügel
kakteen gestaut sand seen
verdammte sandseen
vor wand
der horizont macht blau
ein halber untergang
und wo du flogst da bin ich
ungenau i am a hill i think
ein hügel bist du auch.

[i'm afraid this doesn't really work in english.... but anyways, here you all go:

i have for my own hill/ dammed cacti sand lakes/ damned sand lakes pre tense/ the horizon skips blue/ half a sun down/ where you flew/ i'm improper a hill think/ a hill you are, too.]

just for shits and giggles, here's the translation google translate gives you when you enter the german original version above:

i had my own hill
sand cacti dammed lakes
damned sandseen front wall
the horizon is blue
among a half
and where you because i am flew
i am a vague hill i think
are you a hill too.

here you can see very well how difficult it is to get a point across. especially parts like der horizont macht blau, which literally means 'the horizon makes blue', but would actually have to be translated 'the horizon skips work'. i went for the mixed-up version and took 'the horizon skips blue' which does kind of make sense in the context of a sunset. ... i'm just thinking that my own translation probably won't make any more sense to you than the generated one ... oh well.

23 January 2008

i am totally aware of the fact that i owe you a post

i have started writing a piece for the MDR competition, but it's not coming along very well. i've also done a little thinking about whether i should maybe stay here in london instead of moving back to berlin this summer. it's tricky.

17 January 2008

dances in front of her own works at weddings (if you just happen to have one) - shirana shahbazi

writing about art isn't among the easiest things to do. writing about people, it seems, is much easier. at least when they're drinking german beer and wearing white socks in ocher low shoes. just like it is with red orchids placed in front of a red background, maybe this is one of those moments when an artist goes 'a little bit too far'.

this kind of stuff, i know, is what you want to hear. you want to hear about artists that are fun to look at, because - and that's with all honesty here - many of them don't have much to say. and when i set out to the curve tonight, pushing through london commute, i feared that could have been a mistake. so much the happier i was, when shirana shahbazi opened the night by displaying some of her older work, 'that you haven't seen yet', she assumes. but we have: photography inspired by journalism, photographs of painted photographies, photography knotted into rugs, and a collection of reportage-ish photography she produced for a major swiss insurance company - bewildered by its remote culture.

here, i think, is where the common commentator would build a bridge to her iranian family background/ life/ personality traits, perhaps even.

i, instead, would like to focus on 'remote'. remote, to me, describes her art and style just fine; 'remote' in a delicate, friendly way. 'it's better to have a clear intention about what you are going to do beforehand than having to clarify your artistry verbally after.' so, i ask shirana, does it matter at all whether people understand what you are doing? the attendant crowd catches their breath. shirana, too, seems caught off guard: 'would it sound very bad if i said no to this?' not at all, i find. 'for me it's satisfying when they think my work is beautiful, enjoyable.' and i am taking this earlier statement of hers out of context: 'whether my art gets sold or not, that's none of my business.' i'm not sure whether, at this point, she notices the guy leaning against her 18 meters long wall painting. 'you get a lot more relaxed once you've realized how hopeless it is to talk back [at the industry for pigeon-hole-ing her work as being young, iranian, female, german, swiss, identity-seeking or whatever].' 'i depend on clear thoughts as a starting point for my work, she explains, i need to know: what am i going to do tomorrow?'

'to depict a place far away', she said, was all she intended to do when she flew to iran to work on her degree show. to disclose what it's like if you know such a place very well. in iran, she goes on to explain, people were having a hard time seeing novelty in her photography: 'this is just iranian', she says they would say, 'what makes it so special?' to me, for sure, its beauty.

15 January 2008

(picture taken from postsecret.)

when i can't write over a longer period of time

i get nervous. my ideas seem callow, i can't find white paper. very uncomfortable.

14 January 2008

Ach, ich fühl' es

Ach, ich fühl' es! Keine Tugend
Ist so recht nach meinem Sinn;
Stets befind' ich mich am wohlsten,
Wenn ich damit fertig bin.
Dahingegen so ein Laster,
Ja, das macht mir viel Pläsier;
Und ich hab' die hübschen Sachen
Lieber vor als hinter mir.

Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

12 January 2008

11 January 2008

next reading in austria

will take place in innsbruck on one of the days between 27 march and 30 march 2008.
more detailed information later, this is just so you know.

08 January 2008


just realized i brought my notebook on holiday with me and haven't written a word into it during the past three weeks. that's a bit disappointing. i did write a couple of poems in draft emails, but these are so bad that i don't dare putting them on display here.

there's also the mdr literary price. i'd like to partake and hope i'll come up with something in time - i've become a little unoriented lately when it comes to my writing, i'm afraid.

07 January 2008

(picture taken from postsecret.)

05 January 2008

oh and

ken has had this poem up on his blog forever
(a month rather), and the more often i read it the better i like it. his kitschy stuff is really cute sometimes.

here's my translation of one of his earlier poems.

poetic deed

i partook here with the poem-version of my story Bärenklau - one that hasn't been published yet, but liked very much by the people who have heard or read it. i tried writing something separate, but wasn't quite happy with any of it. Bärenklau, though, has always been close to my heart; this becomes evident in the english translation i made of it, too. i'm really sorry i can't post it here just yet, as - as usual - the competition entry mustn't be published. instead, as a consolation gift, i'll show you a translation of one of those poems i wrote and discarded.

it's called up above (or should i call it up abaph?):

i’m your affliction

can you
lathe me

your nine to five
wings aph

they lathe themselves
low where i am.

03 January 2008

get tough on arms trade - i have signed up!

"Amnesty, IANSA and Oxfam have just launched a global campaign aiming to stop gun running and control the arms trade - and they need your support now. Simply go to:

I've already signed up and you can see my Face in the Million Faces petition at:

Armed violence wrecks lives by fuelling conflict, poverty, and human rights abuses. The campaign is calling for an international Arms Trade Treaty which will make it harder for arms to get into the wrong hands.

Your support will help us to show that people - like you - around the world are outraged by arms trade abuses, and demand tougher arms controls. Act now at:

happy 2008

when i drove back from germany to switzerland this afternoon, the passing landscape made me think of one of his poems alistair noon read in london a couple of weeks ago. in a passage it described the changing view during a journey across the atlantic, and for a while went SEA. SEA. SEA. and so on. (unfortunately, i couldn't find it online - will have to ask him where it can be found.) well, anyways, this listing style made me think of the following poem. only a first draft, but since i promised to post stuff more often again....

die fahrten
ziehen sich immer
strecke kurve wald feld
huegellandschaft dorf
fabrik stadt stadt stadt stadt
ein autobahnkreuz strecke dann
strecke kurve wald feld bald
huegellandschaft dorf dann
zög ich aus dir
das prophetische
sag mir was bliebe