Monday, October 25, 2010


A few lines I particularly liked from Durs Grünbein's new book Aroma:

Die Städte traumen alle voneinander. ("Corso Trieste")

"The cities all dream of each other": behind this evocative image is the simple fact that streets and squares in one city are often named after other cities, but that does not reduce but rather enhances the evocativeness of the line.

Dies ist der Platz mit den glücklichsten Tauben der Welt. ("Piazza San Marco")

"This is the square with the happiest pigeons in the world": I read this quick translation of the line to my mother, and she immediately knew which square it referred to. I had not told her the title of the poem!

Werbung macht müde. ("Aroma," XXII)

"Advertising is exhausting": Or perhaps "wears me out," but Grünbein is, as usual, more general than personal. The title poem, "Aroma", is a 53-poem sequence about a year spent in Rome at the Villa Massimo. Looks like a nice play to stay:


Dave King said...

I think I could cope with a year spent there - maybe reading the book might be a good start.

Donald Brown said...

Nice lines. Of course San Marco is recognizable immediately, but maybe "happiest" could be changed to "famous."

And in the last quotation, there's an echo, I assume intentional, to: "Arbeit macht frei." So the translation would have to be something like: Adverts make tired. But it depends on how you translate the Auschwitz line: work will make you free; work makes us free; Advertising wears us out; adverts will exhaust us. Interesting problem. Great line as it is, auf deutsch.