Language Death Night Outside: Poem, Novel

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Burning Deck, 2009 - Poetry - 128 pages
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Poetry. Fiction. Cross-Genre. An "I" between languages. A text between genres. The Austrian grandfather's death triggers an examination of the past, of history, identity, consciousness. Three poems (by Zanzotto, Celan, Rakosi) and three philosophers (Descartes, Leibniz, Mach) become touchstones for the narrator in his attempt to find a language that is impersonal even while saying "I." A life is created through precise particulars in short, anaphoric sentences--with an effect both staccato and hypnotic. But the effort toward the concrete and definite ("I forced myself to use main clauses, nouns, the definite article") stands in tension with the boundlessness encountered in the poems and in thinking where the city turns ship and a yellow flower in Vienna touches the sand dunes of North Africa.

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About the author (2009)

Peter Waterhouse was born in Berlin in 1956 of an English father and an Austrian mother and studied in Vienna and Los Angeles. Long a resident of Vienna, Peter Waterhouse is one of Austria's leading poets and a noted translator from both English (Michael Hamburger, Gerard Manley Hopkins) and Italian (Andrea Zanzotto, Biagio Marin). He has received numerous prizes, including the Heimito von Doderer Prize (1997) and the H.C. Artmann Prize (2004). More recent poetry includes Menz (2002), Prosperos Land (2001), Verloren ohne Rettung (2001). His latest publication is a novel/memoir, Krieg und Welt (2006).

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