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Selected Poems

Evelyn Schlag

Translated by Karen Leeder

Cover Picture of Selected Poems
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Categories: German
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2004)
£14.95 £13.45
  • Description
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  • Awards
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  • And I saw your face with its traces of laughter and worry
    Since the first time you slipped away from me
    And we knew that we would one day have to leave
    Because we do not deserve the bliss of animals

    From 'Summer Elegies' xvii

    The prize-winning Austrian poet and novelist Evelyn Schlag has one of the most distinctive and subtle voices in contemporary German-language writing. Among her most recent poems are the Summer Elegies, published to much acclaim in Austria in 2002. These, with selections from her earlier work, are included, with an introduction by Karen Leeder and a full interview with the poet.

    Schlag uses the term 'elegy' in the same spirit as Ovid does; it is a mode which includes the themes of love, of place, and of the passing of time and the urgencies it induces. Schlag has developed a rapid, nuanced, unpunctuated style which involves the reader in various creative ways. Her world is as emotionally opulent as her beloved Tsvetaeva's, with whom she shares an impatience with faint-hearted love, and her tones can be as volatile and various as hers. Most of her poems secrete narratives, and those narratives are linked to her life in its widest sense. Her landscapes and the creatures, human and otherwise, that inhabit them are unforgettable.
    Evelyn Schlag
    Evelyn Schlag (born 1952) grew up in Waidhofen an der Ybbs in Lower Austria. She studied German and English at the University of Vienna before becoming a teacher in Vienna and, later, in her home town of Waidhofen. She has published a wide range of poetry, prose and short stories since ... read more
    Karen Leeder
    Karen Leeder (born 1962) is a writer, translator and academic. Since 1993 she has taught German at New College, Oxford and is Professor of Modern German Literature there. She is also a translator of German poetry into English, most recently Volker Braun, Rubble Flora: Selected Poems (with David Constantine, 2014), Michael ... read more
    Awards won by Evelyn Schlag Winner, 2018 The Hay Festival Medal for Poetry Winner, 2018 Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation
    (All Under One Roof)
    Winner, 2005  Schlegel-Tieck Prize For German Translation
    (Selected Poems)
    Praise for Evelyn Schlag  'A poet whose attitude and method are equally fascinating.'
    Dilys Wood, Artemis Poetry
    'With such an eclectic display of witty, moving and inventive poetry in All Under One Roof, Evelyn Schlag has once again proved herself to be a very fine poet. Her themes jump from the Euro tunnel to Paula Radcliffe to her first plaits, but her overarching theme is love in all its guises.'
    Emma Quick, The London Magazine

     'The careful translation by Karen Leeder of every aspect of Schlag's writing is essential in understanding the depth of each image and metaphor(...) I am struck by how much these poems affect me despite their apparent simplicity. In the poem "We Did Not Carry" for example, Schlag writes "Absence hurts from wherever you are", and the lines sliced through to my core, and I am relieved to know that, through the medicine of her words, that I am not the only one trying to make sense of the heaviness of life.'

    Sarah Warren, World Literature in Review

      'Witty, tender, occasionally baffling, often sexy, this is a selection from her two latest collections, Language of a Different Stripe (2008) and Racing in Slo-Mo (2014)... moving in startling leaps and bounds, these poems are anything but slo-mo.'
    Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph
    Poetry Book of the Month, June 2018
    'The beauty of it (in the translation) lies in the precision of tone and detail that opens onto a world of irony and ambiguity that is, nonetheless, serious and tender. Poems on politics, persona and place are treated with the same quizzical sharp-tenderness. We have entered a realm beyond the confines of the apparently simple theme.The power of the book lies in its ability constantly to move us further yet deeper. Leeder's language has a sinuosity and flow that is utterly convincing.'
    George Szirtes, Poetry Book Society Summer Bulletin 2018

     'The poems are in some ways difficult, but by the same measure they are deeply engaging. Especially if, like me, you enjoy ambiguity and enigma. The poems are set in the concrete world, but their language turns our minds away from it... Schlag's poetry is captivating for its very embrace of the unfixed and the slippery. Leeder's translation does tremendous work carrying this through to English.'
    Joe Darlington, The Manchester Review of Books
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