Oscar Pastior' Büchner Prize

Poet Oscar Pastior was honored last month with Germany’s major literary award, the Büchner prize. Better late than never, you could say, though some would interpret such a belated, long overdue event as close to insulting. Below, the opening paras of a signandsight piece by Martin Lüdke on this event, of which you can find the full text here. There’s an excellent English-language collection of Pastior’s work available: Many Glove Compartments, translated from the German by Harry Mathews, Christopher Middleton, Rosmarie Waldrop, & with a guest appearance by John Yau (Burning Deck, 2001).

The spell of a tender eel

Romanian-born poet Oscar Pastior will be 80 next year. The German Academy of Language and Literature would have done a service to literature had they honoured his mystical palindromes and anagrams mid-career. By Martin Lüdke.

A wonderful, long overdue, and surprising decision. Anyone who has ever experienced Oskar Pastior reading, his glasses perched on the end of his nose, heard his soft, amiable voice, warm yet clear with an unfamiliar note somewhere, watched his upper lip and little moustache begin to tremble as he purrs out his vowels – in short, anyone who has learned from him that poetry lives and breathes, that words ring and sing and meaning whirrs and whizzes – must share his pleasure. There is no poet who is more reserved in his manner, more moderate in his nature, more likeable in his whole manifestation. Nor one who is more resolute and uncompromising – and also imaginative – in his work.

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