The Austrian poet and novelist Evelyn Schlag, whose Selected Poems was published in Britain in Karen Leeder’s brilliant translations in 2004 (Schlegel Tieck Prize, 2005) returns with All under One Roof, a wide-ranging selection from her radical recent work, with an essay which discusses frankly the sources, politics and strategies of her writing. This book draws on two substantial German-language collections – Sprache von einem anderen Holz (2008) and verlangsamte raserei (2014) – in which Schlag has moved on from the ‘almost classical perfection’ that critics identified in her earlier work. Love remains a key theme, but the poems are sharp, harsh, with a firm political edge. Schlag takes great risks with memory, politics, love. An associative inward journey with new diction, new orthography, is in progress. Rüdiger Görner in Die Presse responded to the vibrancy of what he calls the ‘Sprachpulsate’ (pulses of language): “Evelyn Schlag’s poems have a kind of discreet presence; once spoken they have claimed their permanent place in the lyric cosmos.” Leeder’s English selection traces a uniquely Austrian imagination at the heart of contemporary European poetry.
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