Last July we published our first poetry in translation, thanks to the wonderful talents of Annie Rutherford, we were able to introduce Germany’s premier performance poet Nora Gomringer.
Now to celebrate the book’s launch and to share her work, Nora is in the UK for a few tour dates, and we are very excited for it!
Nora Gomringer, born in 1980 to German and Swiss parents, is arguably the best-known poet of her generation in either country, acclaimed for her alternatively playful and piercing poetry as well as her lively performances. She is also director of the international artists’ house Villa Concordia.
A career in literature might have seemed inevitable for the daughter of literary scholar Nortrud Gomringer and leading concrete poet Eugen Gomringer, but as a teenager the author originally trained as a dancer. An understanding of performance, body and rhythm informs her work. Gomringer first made her mark in Germany’s emerging slam scene. An influential poetry slammer, in 2001 she co-founded the regular slam event in Bamberg, where she has lived since 1996. 2006 saw her picked up by publisher Voland & Quist, with whom she has since published prolifically. Around this time she moved away from the slam circuit.
Gomringer’s background in performance remains tantamount to her practice: musicality and the evocation of voice and character are key to her poetry, and her collections are accompanied by audio-recordings. Gomringer’s earlier collections often explore common poetic motifs from unexpected perspectives and are as notable for their silences as their content – with love poems, for example, which wryly eschew any mention of heartache. Themes from mythology and religion are often used as a foil to contemporary settings. While these poems often deal with personal and lyrical topics, the best-known among them include poems reflecting on the Holocaust, as well as satires of the literary industry.
Gomringer’s most recent collections (Monster Poems, Morbus and Mode) form a “Trilogy of Surfaces and Invisibilities” and mark a new phase in her poetics. The collections revolve around horror, illness and fashion respectively, with each poem exploring a facet of the collection’s theme, from a rhythmical ‘Herpeswaltz’ in Morbus to an almost visual representation of a haunted house in Monster Poems. The content tends to determine the poem’s form, and the texts are more condensed than her earlier work, occasionally tending towards minimalism. The trilogy is representative of Gomringer’s intermedial collaborations, with each poem facing an illustration by artist Reimar Limmer. Gomringer also often collaborates with musicians and filmmakers.
Gomringer garnered attention from Germany’s wider literary community on winning the 2015 Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize for her prose text, Recherche. Her prose echoes her poetry, making effective use of linguistic repetition and absence, and interweaving surreal humour with a sense for the tragic.
14th February – British Library London – 7.15 – 8.30PM
Sex, Love and Poetry
with Annie Rutherford and Paula Varjack
Tickets and info
16th February – Scottish Poetry Library – 1PM
Translation and Conversation
Tickets and info
17th February- Verve Poetry Festival – 2.15PM
Burning Eye Books Showcase
with Vanessa Kisuule, Toby Campion, Scott Tyrrell
Tickets and info
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