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About the Author: Rose Ausländer

Rose Ausländer, a German-speaking Jewish poet from Czernowitz/Bukovina who spent much of her life in exile in the United States and Germany, wrote that her true home was the word itself. Her poem Mutterland (Motherland) distinguishes between national identity and individual identity which is informed by language: “My fatherland is dead/they have buried it/in fire./I live/in my motherland/word” (Mein Vaterland ist tot/sie haben es begraben/im Feuer/Ich lebe/in meinem Mutterland/Wort). Ausländer is known for her crystalline poems describing the natural wonders of the world, such as stars, butterflies and flowers, as well as her experiences in the Czernowitz ghetto during World War II and the Shoah, her life in exile, her travels through Europe, and her relationship to family and friends. While her early poems are tightly structured and rhymed, her later poetry is influenced by the modern rhythms of free verse which she encountered while reading modern poetry during her exile in the United States and in her meetings with Paul Celan (Paul Antschel 1920–1970). She also translated Yiddish poems by Itzik Manger (1901–1969) into German and German poems by Else Lasker-Schüler and Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855) into English. From 1948 to 1956, while in exile in New York, she wrote approximately thirty poems in English. Ausländer dedicated many of her poems to those who had inspired her personal philosophy and writing, such as the writers Heinrich Heine, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Rainer Maria Rilke, Georg Trakl and Marie Luise Kaschnitz, as well as the philosopher Constantin Brunner (1862–1937). Ausländer’s lifetime correspondence with Brunner began when she sent him one of her early poems, Niagara Falls I. Upon receiving it Brunner replied that he had been standing in spirit with Ausländer before Niagara Falls (Ed. Braun, p. 5). Brunner’s death moved Ausländer to write the poem “Constantin Brunner In Memoriam,” which laments the loss of her long-time mentor yet ends on a hopeful note: “He is not dead, and his words float/in the space of the soul above our life” (“Er ist nicht tot, und seine Worte schweben/im Raum des Geistes über unserem Leben;” Ed. Braun, p. 191).

Denn Wo Ist Heimat? Cover Image

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, by Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH

ISBN10: 3596111528 | ISBN13: 9783596111527

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