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Articles tagged "Berlin, Germany"

Small-town Novella

is it obvious when b’s gaze lingers on people in the schoolyard? there goes leif, being watched. how does it look to someone else? crazy? cheesy? b has known leif since twelfth grade, meaning they were separated from the others and sent to this school where they have a hundred and twenty classmates. then it’s down to pure chance whether old friendships slacken, stay firm, or fall apart at the seams. a high price to pay for a couple of “free” subject choices, limited...

Q&A with Festival Neue Literatur’s Ross Benjamin

Words without Borders spoke with Festival Neue Literatur curator Ross Benjamin about FNL’s seventh annual celebration of German-language literature from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, which will take place from February 25–28 in New York City.  Words without Borders: How does Festival Neue Literatur differentiate itself from other literary festivals? Ross Benjamin: FNL is the only US festival to showcase literature originally written in German. At the same time,...

From the Translator: How to Translate a Circle

The difficulty of translating a circle is not the geometry. In an analog age, I might have written my English version on a turntable. Indeed, Simone Kornappel’s mystifying poem “as a mouse” most resembles a vinyl record: a discus that flaunts its Platonic form before exposing its outlandish sound. The poem even skips midway. And, like a 45-rpm single, it closes with a gaping hole after the final chord. As my eyes revolved around the exuberant lyrics, I traced a chain of...

No Light in the Windows

Christmas was a weary old man when he entered the city. Puffy-eyed and heavy-legged, he dragged himself along, from street to street, from flat to flat. Our door must have been the last one on a long list, because when he finally got here, I slept through the presents and was comatose long before the oohing and aahing had faded away. There was nothing worth staying up for. I didn’t care about any of our relatives and because Dad wasn’t living here any more, half of them stayed...

Ernst Meister’s “Wallless Space”

"In contrast to the poets, the philosophers look incredibly elegant. In fact, they are naked, piteously naked when one considers the meager imagery with which they have to make do most of the time." —Durs Grünbein, Das erste Jahr, 2001 *** What happens when a “piteously naked” philosopher-turned-poet decides to pursue philosophy in the form of verse? This is the task of Ernst Meister in Wallless Space, a jarring book of poems in which Meister explores death, decay,...

Word for Word / Wort für Wort with German and American Writing Students

The initial concept behind Columbia University’s literary translation exchange with Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig (DLL), now in its second year, was to partner young and talented writing students from the US and Germany to translate each other’s work. This year's program included four fiction writers, two creative essayists, and in lieu of poets, two playwrights. In the fall, the American students traveled to Leipzig, Germany to meet with the other student writers...

from “A Garden in the North”

Dr. Heidegger, the adjunct lecturer, lived in a rented room on a back courtyard off the Friedrichstrasse, above a brothel, and one can say that he kept an open house. At the age of seventeen, with a high-school diploma in his pocket, Heidegger had fled the parental spinning mill in a valley in the Swabian Alps with only two goals in mind: to exchange that provincial fustiness for the big city, and to learn languages. First, however, he had to get himself exempted from military service...

from “The All-Rounder”

Wednesday At about three Farwick leaves the office building at one end of the market place. Just outside the door he stops. Is it warm or isn’t it? He’s carrying his light summer coat over his arm. Middle of May, which means one never knows quite what to do. Sometimes he finds it hard to make simple decisions. The office building has only been completed recently. It caused quite a stir. Sixty years after the end of the war a break with historical building styles;...

What I Wish For Myself

Of Wonder's songs the saddest about the downfall of New York City played on a record player in Hester Street of Brecht's poems the most beautiful written in the Charité 2 days before his death about the song of the blackbirds after his death of Shakespeare's plays the strangest about the prince behind the screen of his madness enslaved by rationalism and a tedious ghost of the nights the brightest in front of the KaDeWe the newspaperladies go their ways the...

from “Man Angel”

Endless, the levee. Endless, the dead straight path. Endless, the whirring of the bicycle tires on the asphalt, the whistling of the wind in their ears and the high, bare, immutable blue of the sky over their heads. Endless, the blazing hole of the sun, the shimmer of the heat over the fields and the cruelty of midsummer in the afternoon, when the greasy coating of sweat, dust, and sunscreen begins to drip from their faces onto the handlebars, and each revolution of the pedals climbs with...

from “Broken Glass Park”

I hate men. Anna says good men do exist. Nice, friendly men who cook and help clean up and who earn money. Men who want to have children and give gifts and book vacations. Who wear clean clothes, don’t drink, and even look halfway decent. Where on earth are they, I ask. She says they’re out there—if not in our town then in Frankfurt. But she doesn’t know any personally, unless you count people she’s seen on TV. That’s why I always repeat the words...

Selam Berlin

Hi. My name is Hasan Kazan. In Berlin some people call me Hansi though my parents gave me the name Hasan Selim Khan. Oh yeah, my parents . . . They left Istanbul years ago and moved to West Berlin, the Kreuzberg district. That's where I was born. My parents believed in the West. To them, it meant progress, technology, and jobs. But as my brother Ediz and I grew up and actually started to come into contact with Western values, morals, and schools, my parents changed their minds....

The Knowledge Holder Doesn’t Choke on Cleverness

Feridun Zaimoğlu's Koppstoff: Kanaka Sprak vom Rande der Gesellschaft (1998) presents the fictionalized voices of twenty-six women of Turkish heritage living in Germany. "Koppstoff," which when translated literally means "head material," refers not only to the headscarf worn on the heads of many Muslim women, but also to what is going on in their heads—their thoughts, perspectives and inner lives. ındeed, the book seems to offer readers information "straight from the...

Dear Torturer

Evil wears no gloves. You turned red with shame when the slice of cake tipped over onto the tablecloth. Because you've known for a long time what is appropriate in a German cafe. The waiter hissed: "The broom's included in the price." You understood this command, said nothing, and cleared the food from the table, vigorously, quickly. You were somehow or other on duty, suddenly. Your fingers trembled, and I was thinking of "tea parties" and "grills." Stains on a German...

German


Seismic Activity

I am one of those writers who like to incorporate the short story in the novel. I did so in some novels, playing with forms. But to place the novel in the short story is another story, virtually impossible. All the more complicated as I write novels in French and short stories in English as a third language. To instill the expansiveness of the novel into the instinctiveness of the short story has been one of my literary dreams for years. I have toyed with the idea till recently when I...

Abulafia

"Abulafia" is from a collection of short stories published in Poland in September 2008, entitled Cold Sea Tales. Although the eleven stories in the collection were written at different times over a number of years, they feature some common themes that have also appeared in Huelle's novels. The "cold sea" of the title is the Baltic—all the stories are set on our near the Baltic coast, most of them in the author's native region, in and around Gdansk. Almost all feature a large...

Maag & Minetti: City Stories

Dreams Minetti One morning Maag wakes up with the idea to develop a search engine with which one finds what does not yet exist, dreams Minetti. Thinks Maag Minetti would say the problem was solely the optimizing of proximity and distance, thinks Maag. Clouds Minetti observes the drifting clouds during his stroll. Every now and then he pauses. Curious, he traces with the tip of his walking stick the contours of cloudbirds of every genus and species, small cloudephants, flying...

Other People

It was always the same. The express trains were drafty. They kept them too cold, and no matter how warm the jacket, it didn't help. Mareike knew this stretch, she could recite the stations in order. Yet once again she had forgotten to pack a scarf, an undershirt, thick socks. The landscape, arid and unremarkable, flew by, the weather report had forecast 86 degrees. And she was sitting here freezing. It was her boss's fault. It was the new branch office in the north's fault....

Käte Frankenthal, an Activist Physician

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from The Book of Words

One. Two. And three. During the first three years of school, we are required to cross our arms if we wish to rest them on our desktops when we aren't writing. Only when we are older, the teachers say, will we be permitted to lay one arm smooth and straight atop the other. When we pray, each hand rests flat against the other, no interlocking of fingers allowed. When it's time for recess, we exit the classroom one behind the other in single file, nice and slow, the teachers say....

A Hard-boiled Story

He'd loused it up, that was for sure! As head of security he'd been in charge of the deal. The fact that the Russians' lead containers held not plutonium but a scribbled note saying, "Kiss my ass! You Nazi Hitlers are all as dumb as shit!" along with two chopped-off pig's balls was neither here nor there. After all, his own men's cases had contained toilet paper instead of cash. The entire deal had been a joke, although a joke with a deadly punchline for two of the...

Deprivation of Liberty

Out of the hundred thousand or more stories that happen in Berlin on a daily basis, why tell this one? Let's say it's indicative of a general trend. The story's main character is Anita Paschke-thirty-two years old, blond, slim, single, and a mother of three. Minor characters making an appearance are Ströhler, a waiter, Schälicke, a second lieutenant with the East German People's Police, and Siegfried Böttger, the director of a state-owned enterprise,...

from “Twelve Grams of Happiness”

This World An Invocation to God - I He asked me to meet him at the Kreuzberger Café, promising to tell me a story I could use while still staying within the confines of propriety. His call came at an inconvenient time; it was my day off and I wanted to just sit at home and watch videos. But he refused to be put off. His cousin - that much he was ready to tell me - was "infatuated" with a decent young man, but as a devout Muslim she couldn't have a normal romantic...

from “Lord of the Horns”

Of course it had to be salsa, which Broschkus detested. In a perfunctory way, he set his legs in motion, more the representation of a dance than the dance itself, he wanted to focus on the silvery toenails before him, on the brown feet in their cheap sandals, on the ankles, sinews, calf muscles; but the girl, swaying in wondrously soft motions, made him a gift of her long black tresses that snapped back and forth in syncopation with her every move, and when Broschkus dared to raise...

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