Rosmarie Waldrop / Ulf Stolterfoht

Rosmarie Waldrop was born in Germany, in 1935. She emigrated to the United States in 1958. After working primarily as a translator of German poetry in the country, Waldrop adopted the English language for her investigations of cracks on the surface of meaning, choosing what she came to call the "lawn of the excluded middle" as field for her meditations. In her poetic essay "Thinking of follows", she writes: "In crossing the Atlantic my phonemes settled somewhere between German and English. I speak either language with an accent. This has saved me the illusion of being the master of language. I enter it at a skewed angle, through the fissures, the slight difference. I do not "use" the language. I interact with it. I do not communicate via language, but with it. Language is not a tool for me, but a medium infinitely larger thatn any intention. What will find resonance is out of my hands. If the poem works (and gets the chance to be read) it will set off vibrations in the reader, an experience with language --with the way it defines us as human beings." 

Her first book was published in 1972, called The Aggressive Ways of the Casual Stranger and her translations of German and French experimental poetry have been very important to the American poetic debate for the creation of a contemporary esth-E-tics. Her most fruitful dialogue has been with Edmond Jabès, whom she has widely translated, in works that bring the concept of "language poetry" to another level of meditative technique. She has also translated contemporary French poets such as Claude Royet-Journoud and Anne-Marie Albiach, or German-language poets such as Friederike Mayröcker and Elke Erb. Her trilogy Curves to the apple is one of the most creative poetic assessments of Ludwig Wittgenstein's "philosophy of language games". 

Ulf Stolterfoht was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1963. He has published 5 collections of poems and is one of the most innovative German poets of the past decade. His last book, published in 2007, is called holzrauch über heslach. It is a concious decision to publish Rosmarie Waldrop's translations of Ulf Stolterfoht's first book fachsprachen I - IX (1998) without their "originals", following Ezra Pound's dictum of translation as creative process.