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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Blog entries on '13 July 2006'

Thursday 13 July 2006

Robert Gernhardt

According to signandsight (thanks Steve), Robert Gernhardt was one of Germany's most-loved poets. He died in Frankfurt at the end of June:


Born in 1937 in Reval in Estonia, Gernhardt studied painting and German in Stuttgart and Berlin. From 1964 until his death he lived in Frankfurt, where he worked as writer, painter and caricaturist. His lively cross-genre publishing activities soon made him the leading figure of the New Frankfurt School of writers and artists behind the satirical magazine Pardon in the 1960s and 70s and after 1979, Titanic. Here is a small selection of his poems translated into English by Ursula Runde, some of which have appeared in Poetry Magazine, and sketches from Gernhardt's German Readers series.

Definitely worth taking the time to look around signandsight's literature features too whilst you are at it.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 13 July 2006

Kertész wins Wingate Prize

Imre Kertész's Fatelessness (Harvill) has won the 2006 Wingate Prize ("established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate, the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize is now in its 29th year. The prizes for fiction and non-fiction are each worth £4,000 to each category winner, with £300 also awarded for the runners-ups in each category"):


At the age of 14 Georg Koves is plucked from his home in a Jewish section of Budapest and without any particular malice, placed on a train to Auschwitz. He does not understand the reason for his fate. He doesn’t particularly think of himself as Jewish. And his fellow prisoners, who decry his lack of Yiddish, keep telling him, “You are no Jew.” In the lowest circle of the Holocaust, Georg remains an outsider.

The genius of Imre Kertész’s unblinking novel lies in its refusal to mitigate the strangeness of its events, not least of which is Georg’s dogmatic insistence on making sense of what he witnesses–or pretending that what he witnesses makes sense. Haunting, evocative, and all the more horrifying for its rigorous avoidance of sentiment, Fatelessness is a masterpiece in the traditions of Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, and Tadeusz Borowski.

Let us hope that this will mean all of Kertész's other titles will get translated.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 13 July 2006

Home and away

Do, please, forgive the radio silence. I've been away on a wee mini-break to Big London Town (I'd headed down because PN Review were having a 30th birthday bash). As well as the party, I did some wonderful tourist things (went to Sir John Soane's Museum and Dr Johnson's House and saw the excellent Modigliani and His Models exhibition at the Royal Academy). Now I'm back ... and I'm shattered.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Serendipoetry

Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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