Condensed Water


Anja Kampmann


About the Sea


The horizon is the concern here the

distance applying color the bright crackling

of surfaces of light and the spreading

of the light as it surges the sea

within its broad chest the putrid sludge

of the fishmeal factories the sea of romantic

fires on the gravel beaches travelers

now losing themselves forever

in a distant view the sea in the harbors, the docks

the container areas licking the sea

beneath cranes all heaving the

homesickness nightwards the sea of moray eels

lurking back behind a rock

the sea of the deep with a hidden image

for the dreams of the sea

that vanished in the sea bottomless

the trenches above it all a mosaic of flakes

streaming tough thick field of dirt the sea

that is so well concealed gasping for air within

its broad chest and snatching at



translation: Wieland Hoban





we had thaws in the brighter hours

we knew no cold only the ladders

led high and higher into the tree where the fruit

hung in groups the leaves scented the thinner branches

only so much was left of the view weariness

in your bones on the scale the hours were

measured the sun lay in all the reddish skin

we collected in the border region only the hollow

bucket full in which memory dwelt a

reddish ground next to the trees like clamor

as the sun finally declined.


translation: Anne Posten



of kaliningrad you kept

the semolina pudding the tin pot in the morning

at boarding school the dogs the wild ones with broken

tails and finally a ship

that came toward you distant and far later

in the harbor the shadows of caps broke

the view broke behind collars

the weeks out between war and marine

lay miles up sea and halls so narrow

and potatoes so many and only

the screeching of gulls.


translation: Anne Posten





is summer

distance writes

the letters of your memory

with a light touch

While a certain Ferris wheel

lifts gondola after gondola

into the air


So too is the night

namely the rising

of an approximate language


condensed water


and so are the days

namely more like forgetting

the averted glance when

the early evening soaks into your clothes


the transitions to earlier

which you become

more like. Drifting on this old steamship toward the Atlantic, Cuba

so are the days

lightly –

the gondolas fall

fall like each step

type cases with dried moths

a collection

that fades away like a whipcrack in the dark.


translation: Anne Posten


* *

Read this in German

* *


Images: courtesy of Frank Berendt

anja-kampmann-c-juliane-henrichAnja Kampmann was born in Hamburg in 1983. She studied at the University of Hamburg and at the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig. She’s published poems and essays the about musicality and silence in the late work of Samuel Becket in several anthologies and magazines such as Akzente, Neue Rundschau, Wespennest and Jahrbuch der Lyrik. She was awarded with the MDR Literaturpreis in 2013 followed by the Wolfgang Weyrauch-Förderpreis at the Literarischer März in Darmstadt in 2015. Her first collection of poetry ‚Proben von Stein und Licht’ is nominated for the Ulla-Hahn-Literature Prize.
anne-postenAnne Posten translates contemporary German poetry and prose. Her translation of Tankred Dorst’s novella This Beautiful Place appeared with Hanging Loose Press in May 2012, and her translations of poetry by Thomas Brasch and Uwe Kolbe have appeared inWords Without Borders and FIELD. In 2008, she received an honorable mention from the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation for her proposal to work on Albert Ostermaier’sHeartcore. She currently resides in Queens, New York, while pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY, where she also teaches in the English Department.
wieland-hobanWieland Hoban was born in 1978 in London and studied Music together with German Language & Literature at Bristol University. His musical composition studies led him to Frankfurt where his first articles and translations on music analysis were published in specialist magazines. Since 2000 he has been writing regularly for specialist magazines such as Musik & Ästhetikand Fragmen, and the book series New Music & Aesthetics in the 21st Century. He also works as a translator for the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music. In addition to his translation work, musical composition is another of his main activities, for which he has won several prizes.

Published on October 30th of 2016 in Poetry.

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