(tr. Sophie Seita)
i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where
Publication Date: Fall 2015
when it is time for oranges, ist keine zeit, no time at all, für nichts.
Winner of the second Wonder Prize, i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where brings us Sophie Seita’s playful translations of one of Germany’s most innovative contemporary poets, Uljana Wolf. Being truly between languages, the texts in this collection place themselves squarely against monolingual identity politics, whether invoking Anna O, child language, aphasia, or the isolation of asylum seekers in Bavarian forests. Where the poet discovers multilingual lengevitch, the translator-writer turns the switch, and off we go following the „blur-print“ of their interlaced language: „a spark, a faltering unresting sway; en-wringed.“
Here poetry is b/read for w@nder, with Wolf’s imagination and wry wit hard at work in each of Sophie Seita’s delightful combinatory gleams. My head makes treasure-noises reading both these women and in reading them I too — you too! — join their palimpsest, their/our ingenuity of presence and annalanguage, and we’re glad.
– Erin Mouré
Uljana Wolf has already brilliantly explored the border between languages in the false cognates of Falsche Freunde. Her new book examines a different border: of language loss (pathological, political) or acquisition. Heavy matters presented with a light, elegant touch and luminous inventiveness. Sophie Seita’s translation skillfully navigates this complex “interlace-space” where you “can’t see the would for the trees.
– Rosmarie Waldrop
Uljana Wolf is a German poet, teacher and translator based in Brooklyn and Berlin. She published four books of poetry with kookbooks (Berlin), most recently meine schönste lengevitch and SONNE FROM ORT, a collaborative erasure of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’s sonnets with Christian Hawkey. English translations of her work appeared in three chapbooks, my cadastre (Norby Press), false friends (Ugly Duckling Presse) and ALIENS: an island (Belladonna*). A Spanish translation of her work, Fronteras del lenguaje, was published by La Bella Varsovia/Cosmopoética (Córdoba 2011). Wolf received several grants and awards for her work and for her translations, among them the prestigious Peter-Huchel-Preis for her debut, kochanie ich habe brot gekauft in 2006. Wolf translated numerous poets into German, among them John Ashbery, Charles Olson, Matthea Harvey, Christian Hawkey, Erín Moure, and Cole Swensen, and was the co-editor of the Jahrbuch der Lyrik 2009. She teaches German and poetry translation at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Sophie Seita is the author of Meat (Little Red Leaves, 2015), Fantasias in Counting (BlazeVOX Books, 2014), 12 Steps (Wide Range, 2012), and i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where (Wonder, 2015, a translation from the German of Uljana Wolf). She received a 2015 PEN/Heim Award to translate Uljana Wolf’s selected poems, forthcoming as a full-length collection from Belladonna in 2016. Her videos and other works have been exhibited and performed in the US, UK, Ireland and Germany. She lives in New York, previously curated the simultaneous and live-streamed ‘unAmerican Activities Transatlantic Reading Series’ between London and New York, and is a curator for the 2016 Segue Reading Series. Her academic research focuses on avant-garde little magazines. Scholarships and awards include: a Beinecke Fellowship at Yale, a Princeton University Library Research Grant, a Charles D. Abbott Fellowship (Poetry Collection, SUNY Buffalo), a Queen Mary Principal’s Studentship, a Hölderlin Study Abroad Scholarship, the John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships and grants from Queen Mary University of London, Archive of the Now, the DAAD, Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (multiple), Columbia University’s Gatsby Foundation, and the Arts and Culture Fund (QMUL, London).