One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, June 10, 2011

Now for the Literary Grass

I prefer his shorter works (My Century, Cat and Mouse, Headbirths: Or the Germans Are Dying Out,...) to the longer ones (Tin Drum, Dog Years, The Flounder, The Rat,...), but did you know that Gunter also writes poetry? What will this guy do next?


Too bad Grass and Handke (another fave) can't get along:


There's lots of good stuff in My Century (e.g., the meeting between Celan and Heidegger), but I'll settle for the last chapter (1999) in which a loving son (Gunter) resurrects his mother:

He didn't force me into it, he talked me into it, the rascal. He was always good at that. I always said yes in the end. So now he's brought me back to life supposedly: I'm over a hundred and in decent health because he wills it. 

Oh, yes, the poetry. Lesser known, for sure, but still some good stuff here.  Here's a short one:
Stadium at Night

Slowly the football rose in the sky.
Now one could see that the stands were packed.
Alone the poet stood at the goal
but the referee whistled: Off-side.
(translation by Michael Hamburger)

Which certainly must've been behind a long-ago and never-published piece of mine:

Soccer Field in the Afternoon

From green through blue to yellow nest
sailed the oblong ball

Yawping parents dotted
the sidelines

Behind the goal a duple Danzig
headbirthing in the Grass


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