12 months / 12 writers

This multi-lingual offering is perhaps only readable in my old home country, Luxembourg, as it happily mixes contributions in French (8), German (3), English (1) with some Letzeburgesch thrown in by several of the authors. Corina Ciocârlie (a Luxemburger of Romanian extraction, or maybe still a Romanian living in Luxembourg, but certainly one of the country’s best & most dynamic literary critics) asked twelwe Luxembourg writers to contribute a “diary” for a given month to the literary supplement of the left-wing daily Tageblatt, from December 05 to November 06, and has now gathered these contributions in one volume. The book is the first in a new series, aphinités published by the country’s major literary publisher, Editions PHI. The authors are Guy Rewenig, Nic Klecker, Jean Sorrente, René Welter, José Ensch, Jean Portante, Georges Hausemer, Lambert Schlechter, Gilles Ortlieb, Pierre Joris, Nico Helminger and Roger Manderscheid — in order of appearance. I read the book backwards — essentially because I was eager to read the doyen of contemporary Luxembourg writing, Roger Manderscheid, first, wanting to know what he was up to in the 3 or 4 years since I’d last seen him. And he did not disappoint: the mordant wit and clear political sight is still there, unchanged, despite the 70+ years.

In fact, I hope I can catch up with him & half a dozen of the other friends who are in this book early next week when I’ll be in Luxembourg for a reading celebrating Editions PHI’s publication of my new book of poems ALJIBAR (in a bi-lingual edition with French translations by Eric Sarner) & a literary get together with Romanian poets Ana Blandiana and Emil Brumaru at the KulturFabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette on 6 march. Which also means that the blog may be idle for a few days, as from Luxembouyrg I’ll be going up to Paris to take part in the Printemps des Poètes.

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