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Monika Rinck
to refrain from embracing
translated from the German by Nicholas Grindell
Poetry, 80 pages, offset, smyth-sewn.
ISBN 978-1-936194-07-0
Original paperback $14

With linguistic sophistication and a great deal of self-irony and humor, Rinck sets in tension the most disparate ideas “along with their margins.” Her tonal register shifts from harsh to vulnerable, from formal to casual and playful, from mockery to dreaminess. Her subject matter combines reflection on language and philosophy with everyday problems, animals, pop culture. And she is equally at home with Kant and Bob Dylan, Hölderlin and bar talk. The book is indeed a “tour de trance.”

Monika Rinck lives in Berlin. After studies in comparative literature and religion, she attracted attention with her Begriffsstudio, a website (www.begriffsstudio.de) and book (2001) of striking concepts and weird neologisms. Her first book of poems, Verzückte Distanzen, appeared in 2004, followed by the present volume, zum fernbleiben der umarmung (2007), HELLE VERWIRRUNG / Rincks Ding- und Tierleben (2009), and a book of essays, Ah, das Love-Ding (2006). Her many awards include the Ernst Meister Prize (2008), Arno Reinfrank Prize (2009) and Georg K.Glaser Prize (2010).

Nicholas Grindell grew up in the UK and has been living in Berlin since 1993. His poetry translations have appeared in Shearsman, No Man’s Land, Dichten=, Chicago Review and Washington Square. For the London stage, he translated plays by Elfriede Jelinek and Gesine Danckwart. He is currently working on A Guide To The Animal Sculptures of Berlin.

“As adaptable, multifaceted, and aggressively engaged as any voice in contemporary German poetry, Monika Rinck is a poet of intellect, experimentation and humour. Her work over the last decade has been marked by a singular turn of expression, the profound imbedded in a poetic discourse that disarms the reader… It is a careful and precise methodology.... Her work implies poetry has something akin to a responsibility, that it acts as a trace, a marker that can enlighten.”

—S. J. Fowler, 3:AM Magazine/Maintenant #4

“A poetry which combs and combines the lyric, the idiosyncratic, the magic and the tragic, the bucolic, the alcoholic, the indisputable and the disreputable, the sonic and the laconic, bits, bobs, flips but not flops, crazy but never lazy, disabusive and allusive, meaning with a flourish, but no finish.”

—Alistair Noon