German Poet Visits Cardiff
21 November 2013
On 12 November Professor Jan Berendse welcomed the German poet and novelist Jörg Bernig to Cardiff in the University’s Glamorgan Building.
This energetic writer, born in 1964 in Wurzen in Saxony, GDR, is at the moment Writer in Residence at Swansea University. After his debut in the late-1990s he has published 8 literary works, many of them translated into Rumanian, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Italian and Czech. On 13 November the first English translation of his poems was published with the publisher Hafan Books in Swansea, entitled flower angel ship.
Jörg Bernig is a truly European writer who combines the recurrent emphasis on his Central European base, his Wirkungsort (roughly: the place where he works and where his work ‘takes effect’), with new visionary poetic strategies.
The afterword of the volume flower angel ship states: “Bernig is anything but a reactionary who treasures an anti-modern world, a provincialism which ignores current affairs and the world outside. No, far from that! Rather, for him the past is embedded in everyday life, thus informing his present. This strategy is a challenging undertaking, one that exposes Bernig to the risk of being labelled an out-of-date poet. His method, however, is surprisingly innovative and his clear and sharp lyrical voice enables us to appreciate a Central European culture that is both in continuity with history and, at the same time, constantly on the move and connected to a pan-European domain of thought.”
The reading of a selection of his poems was followed by a translation session under the aegis of Marc Schweissinger and a group of his students. This encouraged the audience (of about 40 people) to engage in a lively discussion about how best to translate Bernig’s poems. The audience not only included German and Translation students from the School but also attracted students and staff from the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning and members from the community, many from the local Cardiff-Stuttgart Association.