Inside the books
is quietude –

No echo
of the poet’s landlady’s
the rumble of guns outside Jena –

Inside the very
loudest of words
is quietude –

As though they’d arrived
at a place which we
may never reach –

Even if you
plug your ears:
as though from far away
the siren song
of the blood


Im Inneren der Bücher
ist es still –

Kein Nachhall
vom Gezänk der Hauswirtin
des Dichters
vom Kanonendonner vor Jena –

Im Inneren auch der
schreiendsten Worte
ist es still –

Als wären sie angekommen
wohin wir vielleicht nie
gelangen können –

Auch wenn du dir
die Ohren verstopfst:
wie von fern her
der Sirenengesang
des Blutes

by Ludwig Steinherr

The Weekly Poem will be taking a week’s break now to ready itself for the new term. We hope that you have enjoyed this year’s extended selection, and look forward to sending out an exciting new set of poems to you beginning in the week of 24 September. Many thanks indeed to all our generous publishers for providing us with such rich material. You can find out more about them from our Links page here. And if you have enjoyed the work, do consider supporting them by investing in some of the volumes we have featured. Thanks for reading!

‘INSIDE THE BOOKS…’ is copyright © Ludwig Steinherr, 2010. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Before the Invention of Paradise by Ludwig Steinherr (Arc Visible Poets Series, Arc Publications 2010).

Ludwig Steinherr was born in Munich in 1962, where he still lives, and studied philosophy at the University of Munich. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer in philosophy at the University of Eichstätt. Steinherr has worked as an essayist, a reviewer, a juror, a translator, and as an editor, co-founding the influential journal Das Gedicht (The Poem) with Anton G. Leitner in 1993. But it is as a poet that he has written his way into the front rank of contemporary German writers, one milestone here being the selection of his poem Legend (Sage) as ‘Gedicht des Jahres’ (‘Poem of the Year’) by the Autoreninitiative Köln in 1987. The present selection is based on the nine collections published in the twenty years after his early debut, Fluganweisung, in 1985. Steinherr’s poems have received a number of awards – including the Leonce-und-Lena-Förderpreis (1993), the Buchpreis des Verbandes Evangelischer Büchereien (1999), and the Hermann-Hesse-Förderpreis (1999) – and have been translated into various languages, including French and Czech. Steinherr was elected a fellow of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste (Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts) in 2003. You can learn more about Steinherr and read other poems from Before the Invention of Paradise at Arc’s page here. Ludwig Steinherr is reading at the King’s Lynn Poetry Festival on 21 September – find more details about the event here.

The translator of this poem, Richard Dove, was born in Bath in 1954, read Modern Languages at Oxford and taught German and English language and literature at the Universities of Exeter, Regensburg and Wales before moving to Munich in 1987, where he has since worked as a writer and lecturer. His early poems were recently collected in the bilingual volume Aus einem früheren Leben (Lyrikedition 2000, 2003), translated inter alia by Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Reiner Kunze. Since moving to the Federal Republic, he has written his poems very largely in German (Farbfleck auf einem Mondrian-Bild. Gedichte, Edition Thaleia, 2002; Am Fluß der WohlgerücheGedichte, Rimbaud Verlag, 2008; Syrische Skyline. Gedichte, Rimbaud Verlag, 2009) while translating into English.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter; search for @Arc_Poetry. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

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