Michael Speier: D.C. Reading

Last week I posted a poem of Michael Speier’s & a note on his work. Check it out here. Below a second poem I translated — & if you are in the DC area you can hear Michael read these & other poems, tomorrow, Wednesday:

Georgetown University
Department of German

You are cordially invited to a

Poetry Reading 

with Michael Speier

when: Wednesday, March 26, 5:00-6:30 pm,

where: ICC 450



THEY BARELY throw shadows, black angels
passing by the window (addresses, private numbers)
they come down with a landing impact noise
parachutes that don’t parade — one gets coffee
one checks her make-up pulls up her slip
one speaks little into his cellphone one dictates
one ogles the pretty secretary one
makes dumb jokes replaces batteries
goes home from the cleaning — fire
from fire split into two, their wash
what they wore, now in the museum( wash
washed, now in the museum)

become homey the absent heimisch, on
split open floors, girder unbearable, what
grew down to dust, unlike frenetic
stone waves sink down these
boxes, hover, blow kisses
of cloud-flour, add to it the rattle of
the closing & closing again doors
of the empty elevators (of the empty airs)

of people who go for walks in invisible
buildings, a tree-&-lawn-lobby, as if they
were on vacation from themselves, from a life, at
image’s edge the water, the grief- & water-hole, [memorial-basin
where the souls, always again pumped up, scoured out
by the new


Prof. Michael Speier is a Berlin-based poet, translator, and literary scholar and the German Department’s Max Kade writer-in-residence this semester. In addition to having published a number of anthologies and translated modern English, French, and Italian poetry, he is the founding editor of the Paul-Celan-Jahrbuch (since 1987) and the literary magazine Park (since 1976).

His primary scholarly interests include symbolism, expressionistic prose, translation theory and practice, the image of the city in literature, and modern poetry, especially Paul Celan. His teaching interests also include creative writing. The author of numerous articles and reviews, he has written or edited the following books: Die Ästhetik Jean Pauls in der Dichtung des deutschen Symbolismus (1979), Kehr um im Bild (with Dieter Straub, 1983); Im Übersetzen leben (with Klaus Berger, 1986); Berlin!Berlin! Eine Großstadt im Gedicht (1987); Poesie der Metropole (1990); Berlin mit deinen frechen Feuern (1998); Interpretationen—Gedichte von Paul Celan (2002), Berlin, du bist die Stadt (2011).

His own poetry has appeared in nine volumes and over 40 anthologies and has been translated into twelve languages. In 2007 he received the Schiller Award. He was awarded the “Literaturpreis der A und A Kulturstiftung” in Spring 2011.

RSVP to cts45@georgetown.edu NLT March 21.

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