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Ventures Poet: Ludwig Steinherr

Posted by Arc, 25th September 2013

Continuing our conversations in advance of the Ventures tour, we hear from Ludwig Steinherr who begins his tour in Hebden Bridge on 6th October, followed immediately by Birmingham Literature Festival on 7th October

What is it you're looking forward to about your tour? And what do you hope to gain from the experience?

English poetry is quite different from German poetry. For me this tour is like an exciting expedition to a strange, exotic world.

I love England and I love the English language - though, unfortunately, my English is not so perfect. I hope the audience will understand me nevertheless.

Since I will enjoy every minute in England, I will gain from this experience at any rate.

What do you enjoy about reading to an audience?

I must admit: When I'm writing a poem, I'm not thinking about a reader. It's a thing between the poem and me. So every time it's a wonderful surprise for me that people come and listen to my poems. Sometimes the reading has nothing to do with me anymore. It's a thing between the poems and the listeners. These are the moments I enjoy most about reading to an audience.

What were the origins of the Before the Invention of Paradise?

The origins of my book date back nearly to the time before the invention of paradise. Actually it was in 1986 when the poet and translator Richard Dove met me in Munich and told me, he would like to translate some of my poems. What I would never have expected: By the time we became close friends and he translated from 1986 to 2006 nearly every poem I wrote. Ten volumes of poetry! A small selection of these poems appeared 2010 with Arc. A great joy for me! I'm very grateful to Arc!

What is important about it for you?

For me this book is a key to the English speaking world in a quite literal sense. Since it's appearance in 2010 I've been to the UK several times and once to the USA for readings. I've gained many new friends, poets and readers. It feels as if I've discovered a new planet.

What is it about the book that will benefit from reading live?

Even the best translation must abandon one very important thing - the sound of the original language. To hear me live reading from my book means to hear also the original poems with my original voice - in (slightly Bavarian) German...

What do you hope your audience will gain from the experience?

In the best case: some seconds of joy.

Ludwig's entire schedule is on the events page of the Arc website