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Alistair Noon has done some lovely translations of German expressionist poet August Stramm (1874-1915), just out as a freely downloadable chapbook (with a nice cover as well done by Peter Hughes). The poems are taken from, ‘Tropfblut. Gedichte aus dem Krieg’ in August Stramm, Gedichte Dramen Prosa Briefe (Reclam, ed. Jörg Drews, 1997). What is immediately noticeable is the vivid images, idiosyncratic syntax and brevity of most poems. The collection of twelve poems also includes an essay by Noon about translating Stramm. From which a few quotes to give you an idea:

Born in 1874, August Stramm was an idiosyncratic figure in German poetry. An
employee of the Berlin post office whose first major piece of writing was a doctoral
thesis on the introduction of worldwide postal charges, he came to literature
relatively late in life. […]

Both his significance in the canon and his biography
are summed up in a poem by Ernst Jandl, which begins: ‘he august stramm /
abridged very / the german poem // him august stramm / the first world war /
abridged …’

Evening
Tiredness stitches.
Dullness dims.
Prayers press down.
The wounding sun
caresses you.

3 thoughts on “The Last Drop: August Stramm translated by Alistair Noon

  1. Pingback: Fallen First World War Poets: 1. August Stramm | Slow Reader 1

  2. I’m editing an issue of the journal ‘Forum for Modern Language Studies’ and one of the authors (Professor Silvia Mergenthal of the University of Konstanz) would like to quote your translation of ‘Schlachtfeld’ in her article. We’d be very grateful if you’d be prepared to give us permission to do this. By all means contact me if you’d like more information about the journal or the particular issue and article in which your translation would appear. Best wishes, Robin MacKenzie rmm10@st-andrews.ac.uk

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