the soul is
which the cat
than a dead mouse
onto the chair
‘Sometimes’, Nora Gomringer
We’re delighted that Nora Gomringer will be performing at the Library on Saturday, 16 February. Tickets are £6 and can be bought here. We’ve been fans since at least 2016 when she recorded a podcast with us (which can still be heard on the website here). That was the year she performed triumphantly at StAnza poetry festival, where she won over Scottish fans not familiar with this Swiss-German writer’s work.
Born in 1980, Gomringer is arguably the best known poet of her generation in Germany and Switzerland, partly because she hosts a TV show about poetry. It should come as no surprise, given how energetic and outright fun her performances are that Gomringer should appear on television. Perhaps it also shouldn’t be a surprise then that as a young person she trained to be a dancer. That said, she has strong literary antecedents: her father is the concrete poet Eugen Gomringer, her mother Nortrud, a literary scholar.
By her early twenties, Gomringer’s energies were being channelled into slam poetry, which she performed and organised showcase events for. Eventually, as she began to publish her work, she moved away from the slam scene. In 2015, she won the Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize for her prose text, Recherche
Gomringer’s English translator Annie Rutherford writes, ‘Gomringer’s earlier collections often explore common poetic motifs from unexpected perspectives and are as notable for their silences as their content – with love poems, for example, which wryly eschew any mention of heartache. Themes from mythology and religion are often used as a foil to contemporary settings. While these poems often deal with personal and lyrical topics, the best-known among them include poems reflecting on the Holocaust, as well as satires of the literary industry.’
Rutherford’s translation of Gomrigner’s poetry, Hydra’s Heads, was published last year by Burning Eye, and we, of course, have a copy you can borrow in the Library. We heartily recommend that you come along to the SPL on 16 February to catch one of the liveliest poets in Europe. It’s sure to beat the Brexit blues!
If you need more persuading, we have two exclusive audio recordings of Gomringer in action. Enjoy!