Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!, Folge 10: Gerhard Rühm, »newspaper and book«
German Poetry Now: A bilingual online-anthology, featured by DAS GEDICHT chapbook
newspaper and book
»whoever holds me in his hands,
will learn what’s new in every land
in striking ways no gaze withstands;
i’m light, the book a weighty bore;
those pains! from reading often sore –
at most one story, seldom more.«
»i’m on a shelf, my owner’s pride;
your back is narrow, mine is wide;
i don’t mind when i’m put aside
unread as long as i am stored
away and sometimes come on tour;
you’re crumpled up, while i’m adored.«
the reader steps in and makes his case:
»each thing has got its time and place,
some culture here and there a race,
the newspaper in the morning light,
a lovely book around midnight,
to each what pleases and excites.«
translated by Paul-Henri Campbell
zeitung und buch
»wer mich in den händen hält,
erfährt viel neues aus der welt,
und so, dass es ins auge fällt.
ich bin ganz leicht, das buch meist schwer,
man plagt beim lesen sich dann sehr –
für eine story, selten mehr.«
»mich stellt man stolz in ein regal,
breit ist mein rücken, deiner schmal.
liest man mich nicht – ists auch egal.
mir reichts, dass man mich aufbewahrt,
zuweilen mitnimmt auf die fahrt.
dich knüllt man grob, mich hält man zart.«
der leser meldet sich zu wort:
»jedes ding hat zeit und ort,
da kultur und dort der sport.
die zeitung morgens früh um acht,
das gute buch um mitternacht.
jedes andre freude macht!«
© Gerhard Rühm, Köln
aus: DAS GEDICHT Bd. 22 / Oktober 2014
Gerhard Rühm was born in 1930 in Vienna/Austria. Gerhard Rühm studied piano and composition at the Vienna Conservatory. He also received private lessons by the twelve-tone composer Josef Matthias Hauer. He was a founding member of the Vienna Group (Wiener Gruppe) in 1954, a circle of artists that shaped Austrian literary history in a defining way, rooted in Expressionism, Dadaism, as well as Surrealism (other members or associates included, for instance, H.C. Artmann, Oswald Wiener, Konrad Bayer, Ernst Jandl, and Friederike Mayröcker). In the spirit of the Vienna Group, Rühm’s early work revolted against the conservatism prevalent in postwar Europe, but was also intent on exploring the intersections between music, language, and the embodiment of lingual and visual expression. He was deeply influenced by the philosophical skepticism of his time that doubted the attainment of veracity by means of language. He produced a series of striking examples of sound poetry but also concrete poetry that have become core examples or points of reference in the German literary canon. From 1978 to 1982, he was the president of the largest writer’s organization in Austria (the other being P.E.N. Austria), the Grazer Autorenversammlung (Graz Writer’s Conference). He is a member of the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg since 1978, which is an organization that John Ruskin certainly would have strongly endorsed, as it takes an active role in negotiating the position and status of art (and the artist) within society. During an extended visit to the Lebanon, Gerhard Rühm carefully studied the Arabic musical tradition. His collected works, which include visual poetry, visual music, melodramas, chansons, playwriting, musical compositions, as well as literary prose and criticism, are slated to appear in sixteen copious volumes, of which ten have so far been published by Matthes & Seitz in Berlin, a young publishing house that – by the way – in the ten years of its existence has delivered more daring as well as successful new kinds of book projects to the market than any of its small or large competitors in the business. Gerhard Rühm’s work has been honored by numerous institutions, such the Austrian Ministry of Culture, the City of Vienna, and the University of Cologne that awarded him with an honorary doctorate in 2010. It is no understatement in saying that he single-handedly reinvigorated the radio drama format (Neues Hörspiel) and brought a plethora of innovative impulses to the art of poetry. Especially in the past fifteen years or so, Rühm’s work has attracted a significant amount of (academic) critical attention and has been the focus of multiple doctoral dissertations.
»Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« is an online collection of contemporary German-language poetry in English translation. All poems were taken from issue no. 22 of the German poetry magazine DAS GEDICHT, focused on the Poetry of Things. New English translations by Paul-Henri Campbell as well as the German originals are published here every Wednesday. All poems of this online-collection will also be published in a special print-edition. In order to read previous poems in this series, click here.
»Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« ist eine Online-Sammlung zeitgenössischer deutschsprachiger Dinggedichte in englischer Übersetzung. Alle Texte sind Band 22 der Zeitschrift DAS GEDICHT entnommen. Jeden Mittwoch erscheint ein neues Gedicht, das von Paul-Henri Campbell ins Englische übertragen wurde, zusammen mit dem deutschen Original. Die Beiträge dieser Online-Anthologie gibt es auch als Sonderausgabe in Buchform. Alle bereits erschienenen Folgen von »Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« finden Sie hier.