wer zu fuß geht, macht sich verdächtig.
die holzhäuser in blau und grau,
aufgewärmt von der sonne.
die grillenmaschine, die langsamer schnurrt,
und ein himmel, der für nichts wirbt als sich selbst.
die ersten trockenen blätter schweben herab,
als brenne irgendwo eine bücherei.
noch wochen, tage wenigstens,
bis der winter seine blizzards gegen
die viel zu dünnen scheiben drückt.
im norden liegen die großen seen,
und der wind geht durch bis nach chile.
~ Jan Wagner
travelling on foot invites suspicion.
timber houses, blue and green,
warming in the sun.
the cricket’s motor purring more softly
and a sky touting nothing but itself.
the first dry leaves drift to the ground
as if somewhere a library were on fire.
just weeks now, or maybe even days,
before the winter presses its blizzards
on these all too flimsy panes.
the great lakes lie to the north
and the wind blows all the way to chile.
~ trans. Iain Galbraith
Born in Hamburg in 1971, Jan Wagner studied English in Hamburg, Dublin and Berlin, where he has lived since 1995. He has published six volumes of poetry, including his most recent collection ‘Regentonnenvariationen’ (Rain Barrel Variations, 2014). A translator and essayist, he is also co-editor of two influential anthologies of young German language poetry Lyrik von Jetzt (Poetry of Now, 2003) and Lyrik von Jetzt 2 (Poetry of Now 2, 2008), and has received numerous awards, including the Mondsee Poetry Award (2004), the Ernst Meister Prize for Poetry (2005), the Wilhelm Lehmann Prize (2009) and the Friedrich Hölderlin Prize (2011).
Iain Galbraith is a prolific translator of German poetry, while his own poems have appeared in the TLS, Poetry Review, PN Review, Warwick Review, Edinburgh Review, Irish Pages and New Writing. A winner of the John Dryden Translation Prize and editor of five poetry anthologies, his recently translated books include a selection of W.G. Sebald’s poetry, ‘Across the Land and the Water’, and a ‘Selected John Burnside’ in German (both 2011). Iain is also a widely performed translator of British and Irish drama into German and currently teaching literary translation at the University of the Applied Arts in Vienna.