Thick of It
Ulrike Almut Sandig
Translated by Karen Leeder
5 x 8.5 inches, 96pp. April 2018
ISBN : 9780857425560
Rs 499.00 (HB)
The poems of Ulrike Almut Sandig are at once simple and fantastic. This new collection finds her on her way to imaginary territories. Thick of It charts a journey through two hemispheres to 'the centre of the world' and navigates a 'thicket' that is at once the world, the psyche and language itself. The poems explore an urgently urban reality, but that reality is interwoven with references to nightmares, the Bible, fairy tales and nursery rhymes—all overlaid with a finely tuned longing for a disappearing world. The old names are forgotten, identities fall away; things disappear from the kitchen; everything is sliding away. Powerful themes emerge, but always mapped onto the local, the fractured individual in 'the thick of it' all. This is language at its most crafted and transformative, blisteringly contemporary, but with a kind of austerity, too. By turns comic, ironic, skeptical, nostalgic, these poems are also profoundly musical, exploiting multiple meanings and stretching syntax, so that the audience is constantly kept guessing, surprised by the next turn in the line.
Ulrike Almut Sandig was born in Großenhain in 1979 and grew up in Saxony. She has published two books of short stories—Flamingos and Book Against Disappearing—and four volumes of poetry. She often collaborates with filmmakers, composers, sound artists and musicians and has won many prizes, including the Leonce and Lena Prize in 2009 and the Literary Prize of the Federation of German Industries in 2017. She lives in Berline with her family.
Karen Leeder is a writer, translator and academic, and teaches German at New College, Oxford.