Channeling Georg Trakl
Fighting Forms by Franz Marc
Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010. 149pp.
Mystery, lyric intensity, strangeness, animism: no poet embodied these qualities more than did the early twentieth-century Austrian poet Georg Trakl. Poor, drug-addicted from an early age, and possibly involved in an incestuous union with his sister Margarete, Trakl enlisted in the army in World War I and participated in the bloody battle of Grodek on the Eastern Front. Ludwig Wittgenstein, who admired Trakl above all his contemporaries and became his anonymous donor, was stationed nearby. Upon learning that the poet, whom he had never met, was deeply depressed, Wittgenstein traveled to Grodek, only to learn that Trakl had taken his life three-days earlier. He was twenty-seven years old.
Looks like I’ll be picking up this book immediately. I’m fascinated by this idea of working with another poet’s words, but less in the sense of translating and more in the sense of channeling:
Indeed, Ventrakl, with its play on ventricle, is conceived as a “collaboration” with a tutelary spirit, not so much a new “translation” of Trakl’s poems (Hawkey himself knew no German when he began the project) as a “ghostly reanimation” of the poet’s textual presence. Accordingly, translation gives way to transposition, to citational graft and recycling.
(Also, I love how everything Marjorie writes sounds EXACTLY like Marjorie. I can hear her proclaiming this whole block of text.)
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