In memory of Mary Oliver

The American poet Mary Oliver was no stranger to melancholy — but often her kind of melancholy seems to be of a more vital quality, than the kind of melancholia observed in Sebald’s univers. Listen to this: The Uses of Sorrow (In my sleep I dreamed this poem) Someone I loved once game mea box…

After Sebald

… moving on – or maybe not … because honestly; isn’t this poem, like so many exquisite works of art, just another variation of the troublesome Sebaldian story? Maged Zaher “Untitled” I’m few déjà-vus from repeating my whole lifeI need to study the shapes of things before deathBefore declaring myself a better failure:  waiting mostly…

True – but not the whole truth

And so I’ve finished The Rings of Saturn, and I ask myself: Was this a good way to start 2019? To tell the truth — I’m not entirely sure. The text is without doubt a masterpiece; written in a beautiful prose, based on vast knowledge, connecting us, contemporary life, to history in a highly original…

I came into the world under the sign of Saturn—

Saturn is the planet of melancholy, about which Walter Benjamin writes: “I came into the world under the sign of Saturn – the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.” W. G. Sebald’s prose poetics seems to be driven by this motion, which is more than a simple state of being:…

Becoming lost

The Rings of Saturn follows a Sebald-like narrator as he walks along England’s eastern coast, letting his mind wander along with his feet. The prose follows the narrator’s digressions from each place and idea to the next, moving freely in time and space.  Here is a good example of Sebald at work: … for Diderot there…

W.G. Sebald – short biobibliographical notes

W.G. Sebald, in full Winfried Georg Sebald, (born May 18, 1944, Wertach, Allgäu, Germany—died December 14, 2001, Norwich, England), German-English novelist and scholar who was known for his haunting, non-chronologically constructed stories. Sebald’s work imaginatively explored themes of memory, especially as they related to the Holocaust. His novels include Schwindel, Gefühle (1990; Vertigo), Die Ausgewanderten (1992; The Emigrants), Die Ringe des Saturn (1995; The Rings of Saturn), Logis…

Why Read Sebald?

He is utterly despairing, particularly in The Rings of Saturn. It’s terrible, beautiful, and there’s no hope.          — Ali Smith I’ve been here before, at my desk, with all the books by W.G Sebald (which unfortunately isn’t that many) in front of me. My plan is to (re)read The Rings of Saturn. Did I read it…

Ruins of Nostalgia

Browsing David Orr’s list of “Best Poetry of 2018” I came across the poet Donna Stonecipher, whom I had never heard of. And naturally I decided to check her up — this is what I found (or at least some of it…). Happy reading! The Ruins of Nostalgia 1 In the fall we were nostalgic…

The Call to Create

Spending my Sunday morning in the company of James Hollis — ON HEARING (AND ANSWERING) THE CALL TO CREATE According to Hollis: So much of the self-help genre prattles on about “happiness.” “Thirty Days to this or That…”. “Five Easy Steps to…”. You fill in the blanks. But this Pablum does not feed the soul,…

Between a Wolf and a Dog

(TIDYING BY READING, PART 2) There must have been someone here – in this interconnected world of ours – recommending me this book, but now I no longer remember who. I probably started reading «Between a Wolf and a Dog» more than a year ago, but then it slipped away, surfacing again in the big move.   «Between…