Three poems of Ludwig Steinherr.
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29 June 2018
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LUDWIG STEINHERR was born in Munich in 1962, where he still lives, and studied philosophy at the University of Munich (writing an M.A. thesis on Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik and a much-noted doctorate on Hegel and Quine, “Holismus, Existenz und Identität”. Ein systematischer Vergleich zwischen Quine und Hegel). He is now a free-lance writer and lecturer in philosophy at the University of Eichstätt. Steinherr has worked as an essayist, a reviewer, a juror, a translator (of Michael Hamburger, for example), and as an editor, co-founding the influential journal Das Gedicht (The Poem) with Anton G. Leitner in 1993. But it is as a poet that he has written his way into the front rank of contemporary German writers, one milestone here being the selection of his poem Legend (Sage) as “Gedicht des Jahres” (‘Poem of the Year’) by the Autoreninitiative Köln in 1987. The present selection is based on the nine collections published in the twenty years following his early debut, Fluganweisung, in 1985; since thten, he has published two further books of poetry:Von Stirn zu Gestirn(Munich: Lyrikedition, 2000, 2007) and Kometenjagd (Munich: Lyrikedition, 2000, 2009). Steinherr’s poems have also been published widely in magazines and anthologies in Germany and abroad (in Raymond Hargreaves’ Young Poets of Germany, Forest Books 1994, for instance, or in the 1994 Agenda German Issue edited by Michael Hamburger and Richard Dove), have received a number of awards – including the Leonce-und- Lena-Förderpreis (1993), the Buchpreis des Verbandes Evangelischer Büchereien (1999) and the Hermann-Hesse- Förderpreis (1999) – and have been translated into various languages, including French and Czech. Steinherr was elected a fellow of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste (Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts) in 2003.

 

AGAIN AND AGAIN…

Again and again

there’s the

apple the

hand that keeps

reaching out

there’s the

look

the bite

the naked

knowledge

Again and again

we’re

expelled

from a garden

that never

 

THE INNOCENCE OF STONE

 In stone too

a source is flowing

a tree is sleeping

the possibility of life throbs

already the thought is lurking

which knocks stones into shape

which seeks out sources

uproots trees

makes life

impossible to live.

 

STUCCO

What’s coming into being there

light from light

what’s growing forth

out of church-ceilings monastery-walls

acanthus tendrils sea-shells blossoms

and angels’ faces

secret recipes concocted

over long winters

lime water beer hibiscus root

animal bristles and curdled milk

stirred into the plaster

what’s coming into being there

lying down in draughts

coughs rheumatism dropsy

what’s growing forth

light from light

and how it begins

at night sleepless covered in sweat

in between nightmares

and dawn’s dank fingers

the way it appears

from out of the ceiling

trumpets of light

in the midst of darkness.

 

-Translated by Richard Dove. 

*Copyright by ARC PUBLICATIOS, Todmorden, UK, 2010.

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