Writing Europe: What Is European about the Literatures of Europe? : Essays from 33 European Countries

By Ursula Keller; Ilma Rakusa | Go to book overview

fronted and self-reflecting nakedness and sensibility. It is an intimately radical state of a person searching within the concealment of his current context. It is like the open poem. It is like solitary running—the supreme act of the present in the present, an always moving open form that endures until it runs on. It is like openness to communication that endures while direction and connection endure. This radical style of writing and mental existence has always remained with us. Openness and sequestration meet herein a conflict of creating alternatives of one's experience in a moveable and unpredictable talking space of individual utterance.

The poem, in fact, is an unpredictable nomad in the midst of a firmly settled world. It is an ancient mixing of the correct borders of things and the unceasing mixing of languages and styles of poems, all in a continual mutual influence; and rejection uncovers for me behind the word Europe, an exciting, varied, always blossoming nomadic tradition of poetry and its living fata morganas that time immemorial impinge forcefully upon a complacent reality and our blunted sensibilities.

It was precisely in this tradition that we began to write in the midst of a sequestrated reality, patiently, our vision eagerly directed, full of our own inspiration. We moved at our own pace in this network of changing, living, breathing context. What we cling to is an openness to contact, mutual reading of one another, empathy, which on the nomad's path always finds a fresh print.

I take risks, though I don't like laboratory experiments. I prefer to try things at the sharp end. In this way you know what it can withstand, what is valid, what works within its reality in the midst of a wider reality beyond words.

Writing for me has always had an analogy with running. It is action. It leaves behind itself a design, a possibility, an unclosed solitary pact—not product. It leaves, literally behind one's heels. From the first step, which is infirm, unstable, in fact continuously perishing only able to project itself, it grows into a mobile network of meanings.

Simply, a step perishes, the action lasts. You can continue to try.

-273-

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Writing Europe: What Is European about the Literatures of Europe? : Essays from 33 European Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Ursula Keller Germany 1
  • Ilma Rakusa Switzerland 21
  • Guðbergur Bergsson Island 29
  • Andrei Bitov Russia 35
  • Hans Maarten Van Den Brink the Netherlands 48
  • Mircea Cărtărescu Romania 58
  • Stefan Chwin Poland 68
  • Aleš Debeljak Slovenia 80
  • Jörn Donner Finnland 96
  • Mario Fortunato Italy 108
  • Eugenio Fuentes Spain 117
  • Jens Christian Grøndahl Denmark 125
  • Durs Grünbein Germany 136
  • Daniela Hodrová Czech Republic 146
  • Panos Ioannides Cyprus 157
  • Mirela Ivanova Bulgaria 169
  • Lídia Jorge Portugal 177
  • Dževad Karahasan Bosnia 188
  • Fatos Lubonja Albania 198
  • Adolf Muschg Switzerland 208
  • Péter Nádas Hungary 216
  • Emine Sevgi Özdamar Turkey 225
  • Geir Pollen Norway 237
  • Jean Rouaud France 249
  • Robert Schindel Austria 258
  • Ivan Štrpka Slovakia 273
  • Richard Swartz Sweden 281
  • Nikos Themelis Greece 289
  • Emil Tode Estonia 299
  • Colm Toíbín Ireland 309
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint Belgium 317
  • Dubravka Ugrešić Croatia 325
  • Dragan Velikić Serbia 335
  • Tomas Venclova Lithuania 345
  • Māra Zālīte Latvia 355
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