Jakob van Hoddis

Strong Wind Over the Pale City

Starker Wind über der bleichen Stadt

With this bilingual edition a large selection of poems by Jakob van Hoddis will be published in English for the first time. The collection was made possible by his heirs in Israel and the US and by the Ursula Lachnit-Fixson Foundation, Berlin.


The Contributors:

Mitch Cohen lives as a translator and author in Berlin since 1977.

Gregory Divers is a translator, an author und professor of German studies in St. Louis/USA.

Irene Stratenwerth, the editor, has been working as a journalist, curator and author on the life and works of Jakob van Hoddis for more than 20 years. 


End of the World

From the burgher's pointy head, wind takes his hat.
All the air resounds with shrieks and cries.
Steeplejacks plunge from rooftops and so go splat.
And on the coasts − we read - the waters rise.

The storm has come; the wild seas hop and skip
Onto land; great dams are crushed by watery pestles.
Most people have post-nasal drip.
And trains are toppling from the trestles.

Jakob van Hoddis, 1911

 

He speaks his short verses with defiance and rage; they have such a radiant sheen that one could steal them from him.


 -  Else Lasker-Schüler, 1910

 

These two stanzas, oh these eight lines appeared to have transformed us into other people


 - Johannes R. Becher, 1957

 

This eight-liner proved to be one of the most resilient type of earworms.


 - Robert Gernhardt, 1990