A poem from the collection 'Self-Portrait With a Swarm of Bees', translated by Iain Galbraith. (Arc Publications). This book was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize 2015, judged by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard.
From the judges: "Jan Wagner’s poems are ‘not only elaborate, cunning, and worldly, but genuinely entertaining’ (Iain Galbraith). His playful adventures in form surprise into view the hidden structures of life and language, while celebrating poetry’s ‘bond with our steaming, glowing, odorous, noisy world’ (JW/IG).
Galbraith converts every challenge (formal, lexical, metrical) into an opportunity, matching Wagner’s ingenuity and investment at every step, having internalized the ‘primal syntax’ so completely that everything he writes hits the mark. The result is a perfect sufficiency: a set of poems in English that somehow inhabit the same skin as the German, with their own autonomous heart and lungs."

stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 15912
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2015-10-19 15:48:30
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-19 15:48:30
    [post_content] => as if all the letters had suddenly
floated free of a paper
and formed a swarm in the air;

they form a swarm in the air,
of all that bad news telling us
nothing, those skimpy muses, wispy

pegasuses, only abuzz with the hum
of themselves, made from the last twist
of smoke as the candle is snuffed,

so light you can hardly say: they are –
looking more like shadows, umbrae
jettisoned by another world

to enter our own, they dance, their legs
finer than anything pencil can draw,
with their miniscule sphinx-like bodies;

the rosetta stone, without the stone.

 
    [post_title] => an essay on midges
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => an-essay-on-midges
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2015-12-16 18:42:40
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-16 18:42:40
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://poetrysociety.org.uk/?post_type=poems&p=15912
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => poems
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [meta_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [wpcf-published-in] => 
            [wpcf-date-published] => 2015
            [wpcf-summary-description] => A poem from the collection 'Self-Portrait With a Swarm of Bees', translated by Iain Galbraith. (Arc Publications). This book was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize 2015, judged by Olivia McCannon and Clare Pollard.
From the judges: "Jan Wagner’s poems are ‘not only elaborate, cunning, and worldly, but genuinely entertaining’ (Iain Galbraith). His playful adventures in form surprise into view the hidden structures of life and language, while celebrating poetry’s ‘bond with our steaming, glowing, odorous, noisy world’ (JW/IG).
Galbraith converts every challenge (formal, lexical, metrical) into an opportunity, matching Wagner’s ingenuity and investment at every step, having internalized the ‘primal syntax’ so completely that everything he writes hits the mark. The result is a perfect sufficiency: a set of poems in English that somehow inhabit the same skin as the German, with their own autonomous heart and lungs." [wpcf-rights-information] => [wpcf-poem-award] => Winner, Popescu Prize 2015 [wpcf_pr_belongs] => ) [poet_data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 2394 [forename] => [surname] => [title] => Jan Wagner [slug] => jan-wagner [content] => Jan Wagner was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1971. A poet and essayist, he has published six volumes of poetry, including Guerickes Sperling (2004), Achtzehn Pasteten (2007), Australien (2010)and his most recent collection Regentonnenvariationen (2014), for which he was awarded the Prize of the Leipzig Bookfair (2015). He is the co-editor of two influential anthologies of German language poetry, and has also translated the work of several British and American poets. He has received many awards for his poetry, including the Ernst Meister Prize (2005), the Wilhelm Lehmann Prize (2009), the Friedrich Hölderlin Prize (2011) and the Mörike Preis (2015). His collection Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees, translated by Iain Galbraith, won the Popescu European Poetry Translation Prize 2015. ) )

an essay on midges

by Jan Wagner

as if all the letters had suddenly
floated free of a paper
and formed a swarm in the air;

they form a swarm in the air,
of all that bad news telling us
nothing, those skimpy muses, wispy

pegasuses, only abuzz with the hum
of themselves, made from the last twist
of smoke as the candle is snuffed,

so light you can hardly say: they are –
looking more like shadows, umbrae
jettisoned by another world

to enter our own, they dance, their legs
finer than anything pencil can draw,
with their miniscule sphinx-like bodies;

the rosetta stone, without the stone.

 

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has nearly 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, the Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

R.S.Thomas Literary Festival 2016: Aberdaron, Gwynedd, 24 June. @PoetrySociety @poetry_int @PoetintheCityUK Retweeted by The Poetry Society

London launch of my pamphlet 'Codes of Conduct' on 18th Feb at The Poetry Cafe, Cov Gdn. Come on down! @PoetrySociety Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Kind of blissed-out reading the latest @poetryreview with @DerynRJ, @no1_emily, Fran Lock, Caroline Price, Philip Hancock etc @PoetrySociety Retweeted by The Poetry Society

12 hours of light to darkness in new poetry films from @jaybirdlivelit at the Friday Late, @LTMuseum, 12 Feb.... fb.me/50OFkgqHw

We are seeking a new Marketing Co-ordinator. Could it be you? Deadline for apps: Mon 8 Feb. ow.ly/XQceJ

Who loves Love Poetry? @MissLizBerry @notrockyhorror @TheEmmaPress are here on 11th from 7pm and it's FREE! Excited! pic.twitter.com/WwkQodpX6w Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Twitter Media

Edwin Morgan & Liz Lochhead were shoe-ins for job of Scottish Makar. Loved beyond world of poetry. Is there anyone who can fill their boots? Retweeted by The Poetry Society