In Real Life
Ulrike Almut Sandig was born in the late GDR and now lives with her family in Berlin. She started publishing her poetry by pasting poems onto lamp posts in Leipzig and spreading them on flyers and free post cards. After completing her studies in Sociology of Religions and Modern Indology, she graduated from the German Creative Writing Program Leipzig. Story collections, pop music albums, radio pieces, various poetry collections and her novel „Monsters like us“ (Seagullbooks 2022) have been published to date. For her poetry performances she works with composers and performance artists, such as Hinemoana Baker (NZ), Alif (IND) and Grigory Semenchuk (UKR). She is frontwoman of the poetry collective Landschaft which stirrs up poetry, film and loop-based electronic music. In 2015 Ugly Duckling Presse (Brooklyn, USA) launched a selection of her early poems in Bradley Schmidt’s translation. In 2016 Karen Leeder’s stunning translations of Sandig’s latest poetry „Thick of it“ (Seagull Books, 2018) won the English PEN translation Pitch and have been awarded with an PEN America/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Her latest poems in English translation „I Am a Field Full of Rapeseed, Give Cover to Deer and Shine Like Thirteen Oil Paintings Laid One on Top of the Other“ reanimate the dark side of The Children’s and Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm and use it as a backdrop for contemporary European concerns: war, migration, the rise of the Right. Ulrike Almut Sandig is a member of the German PEN section.
„Ulrike Almut Sandig is a master storyteller who writes in beautiful poetic prose.“ New Books in German
Based on a poem by the German 19th century poet Friedrich Hölderlin.
POETRY, MUSIC & STARRING Ulrike Almut Sandig
ENGLISH TRANSLATION Karen Leeder
VIDEO PRODUCTION Sascha Conrad
Based on a poem by Grigory Semenchuk.
GERMAN LYRICS Ulrike Almut Sandig
VIDEO PRODUCTION Èleonore Roedel & Beate Kunath
I Am a Field Full of Rapeseed, Give Cover to Deer and Shine Like Thirteen Oil Paintings Laid One on Top of the Other
Poems. 80 pages. Translated by Karen Leeder Published by Seagull Books London New York Calcutta 2020.
Translated by Karen Leeder
Ulrike Almut Sandig’s second volume of poems translated into English is a journey through a world that is imaginary yet entirely recognizable. Precise observation of the concrete is mixed with playful humour, inspired musicality and an anxious reckoning with undercurrents of violence. Migration, war, the rise of the new right, ecological threat, information overload and political apathy.
Yet the book is also animated by the passionate, expansive empathy—and reminds us what it is to be human. Always inventive, Sandig teases us here with multiple versions of the self, and multiple voices all in search of the origins of poetry in hidden places: in the silence before language, in the wings, in the field of rapeseed deep in the snow.
Poems. 36 pages. Translated by Karen Leeder. Published by Hurst Street Press Oxford London 2018.
Translated by Karen Leeder
This cycle refers to The Children’s and Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm, first published in two volumes in 1812 and 1815 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. It reanimates the dark side of Grimm and uses it as a backdrop for a very contemporary European concerns: war, migration, the rise of the Right.
Karen Leeder is a writer, critic and translator. She is Professor of Modern German Literature at New College, Oxford. In 2015 she was awarded the English PEN translation Pitch for her translation of Ulrike Almut Sandig’s poetry. Here’s to her website.
Thick of it
Beatz & Verses with Grigory Semenchuk.
Music CD. 45 minutes. Published Schöffling & Co Frankfurt am Main 2018.
Produced by Klangkosmonauten Berlin 2018.
Buch gegen das Verschwinden (Against Disappearance)
Stories. Published by Schöffling & Co. Frankfurt / M. 2015.
Amid the unrest in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, a young journalist tries to cast off the expectations of his mother, who was bitten by the travel bug after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. A hiker gets lost in the ancient, enchanted forests of the Engadine during a snowstorm. A little girl is flown by her grandmother to the end of the world during the transit of Venus. Where their traces lead is one of the many puzzles of these stories.
In her colourful and poetic prose, Ulrike Almut Sandig describes places that only appear to be gone. In reality they live on in the experiences of the elderly and the hopes of the younger generation. Relationships are buffeted by the storms of these stories, and deceptive certainties come unravelled. In her new book, Ulrike Almut Sandig uses the magic of storytelling to prevent whole worlds disappearing from our consciousness.
A short film by Harald Opel based on this book:
Stories. Published by Schöffling & Co. Frankfurt / M. 2010. Paperback by S. Fischer. Frankfurt / Main 2012.
I am a field full of oilseed rape I hide the deer and shine like 13 oil paintings piled one on top of the other
Karen Leeder’s translation on pen.org PEN America 2016.
Karen Leeder’s translation in Middlebury New England Review, no. 03/2016.
Karen Leeder’s translations in the Tasmanian literary journal „Communion“, no. 03/2015.
Karen Leeder’s translations in Shearsman magazine, 102 & 102/2014.
A clip by her poetry band LANDSCHAFT, Kiev 2016:
Thick of it
Poems. Published by Schöffling & Co. Frankfurt / M. 2011.
Karen Leeder’s translations the PEN America website, 2016.
Bradley Schmidt’s translation in no man’s land, no. 7/2012.
Karen Leeder’s translations in Modern Poetry in Translation, no. 03/2013.
Bradley Schmidt’s translations in New Books in German no.32.
Bradley Schmidt’s translations in Asymptote, Issue Jul 2013.
Karen Leeder’s translations in Asymptote blog, Jul 22, 2014.
Karen Leeder’s translations on Asymptote blog, Dec 16, 2014.
A short film by Harald Opel based on a poem from Thick of it:
Poems. Published by Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung. Leipzig 2007.
Jane Gibian’s translations on Shampoo Poetry.
Bradley Schmidt’s translations on Lyrikline.org:
in summer the elderly sit
on a sinking ship
was the table, was the chair
let it lie
Bradley Schmidt’s translation on no man’s land:
this draught from talk (issue 5/2010)
the russian woods (issue 6/2011)
A spoken word impro with Grigory Semenchuk based on a poem in this book, Kiev 2015:
A poetryfilm by Harald Opel based on a poem in this book:
Poems. Published by Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung. Leipzig 2005 / 2009.
In a Workshop
Translation Workshop at Queen’s College in Oxford (UK) for the literary magazine Modern poetry in Translation: