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The Night Begins with a Question

XXV Austrian Poems 1978-2002

Edited by Iain Galbraith

The Night Begins with a Question: XXV Austrian Poems
Series: European Originals
Categories: 20th Century, Austrian, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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    Ilse Aichinger, Christoph Wilhelm Aigner, H. C. Artman, Ingeborg Bachman, Franz Joseph Czernin, Michael Donhauser, Oswald Egger, Franzobel, Erich Fried, Maja Haderlap, Ernst Jandl, Norbert C. Kaser, Marie-Therese Kerschbaumer, Alfred Kolleritsch, Friederike Mayröcker, Heidi Pataki, Reinhard Priessnitz, Andreas Okopenko, Peter Rosei, Robert Schindel, Evelyn Schlag, Ferdinand Schmatz, Raoul Schrott, Julian Schutting, Peter Waterhouse, and the translators Iain Bamforth, Ron Butlin, Regi Claire, Ken Cockburn, Iain Galbraith and Angus Reid.

    Many of the poets who spring to mind when we think of German poetry in English translation are Austrians - at least 'by formation' (as the late Dame Muriel Spark spoke of her Scottishness). Mostly born in the post-war Second Republic, during the politically riven First Republic subsumed in 1938 into Nazi Greater Germany, or into the richly traditional, multi-cultural Austro-Hungarian Empire, dismembered in 1918, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Georg Trakl, Paul Celan, Rose Ausländer, Ingeborg Bachmann, Erich Fried, Ilse Aichinger, Ernst Jandl, Friederike Mayröcker, Raoul Schrott and Evelyn Schlag are poets whose names many readers of modern poetry will recognize.

    The present anthology collects work by several of these, placing them - in new translations by Scottish poets - in the company of some of their Austrian contemporaries. When Franz-Josef Murau, hero of Thomas Bernhard's novel Die Auslöschung (Extinction), expresses his love for Ingeborg Bachmann's great poem 'Böhem liegt am Meer' (which opens this collection), he calls it 'so Austrian, but at the same time so permeated by the whole world, and by the world surrounding this world'. Something similar might be said of each of poems in this compact and vital selection.

    This is the latest addition to the European Originals series which has previously showcased Scottish, Finnish and Hungarian poetry.
    Iain Galbraith, born in Glasgow in 1956, grew up in the west of Scotland and studied Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at the universities of Cambridge, Freiburg and Mainz. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement ... read more
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