August 1, 2011

Michael Lentz

Michael Lentz [Germany]

Born in May 15, 1964 in Düren, Germany, Michael Lentz studied German literature and philosophy, first in Aachen and later in Munich. His dissertation was on post-war sound poetry and music, and his poetry reflects those interests. He now lives in Berlin and Leipzig.

He is the author of numerous books, including poetry, prose, and fiction. His most popular works, published by S. Fischer Verlag, including Neue Anagramme (1998), Oder. Prosa (1998), Ende gut. Sprechakte (2001) (with a CD), Aller Ding. Gedichte (2003) and the novel Liebeserklärung, published in 2003 as a book and CD.

In 2000 edition selene published his critical-documentary research consisting of two volumes: Lautpoesie/-musik nach 1945. Eine kritisch-dokumentarische Bestand-saufnahme, a basic work dedicated to the theory and history of sound poetry since 1945. Alongside the detailed commentary and analysis of existing trends of sound poetry, the book presents samples of creative activities of various authors, interviews, and manifestos. He did his Ph.D. dissertation at the Universität Siegen.

Lentz is the author of numerous articles on the issues of theory and history of sound poetry and has presented works on radio, in magazines, catalogues, and anthologies. He edited “KLANGZEICHEN.” KLANGZEICHEN 1: Bob Cobbing: VerbiVisiVoco. Collected Poems 1942-2002 (2003, with a CD) and KLANGZEICHEN 2: Franz Mon: Freiflug für Fangfraagen. 106 Alphabetgedichte mit 26 Versalcollagen und eine CD mit Lauttexten.

Since 1996 he has conducted a number of curatorial projects at SOUNDBOX. Akustische Kunst (Salzberg, München, Berlin), in which representatives of various schools of sound poetry of the world participated. Lentz has participated himself in various festivals, readings and concerts in Europe, the USA, and Asia. Since 1989 he has been performing as a member of Josef Anton Riedl’s ensemble—a group tackling a wide range of experimental music, multimedia compositions and audio-visual environments.

In 2001 he was a fellow at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles.

Lentz is a recipient of various literary rewards and prizes, including the 1. Preis Individual Competition National Poetry Slam (1998), Literaturförderungspreis des Freistaates Bayern (1999), Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis (2001), Hans-Erich-Nossack-Förderpreis des BDI (2002), Preis der Literaturhäuser (2005). He is president of the Freie Akademie der Künste zu Leipzig. In 2006 he was appointed professor at the University of Leipzig


Frankfurt am Main (Wien: Edition Selene, 1998); Neue Anagramme (Wien: Edition Selene, 1998); Ende Gut. (Wien: Edition Selene, 2001); Aller Ding (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2003)


selections in Douglas Messerli, ed., The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 7: At Villa Aurora—Nine Contemporary Poets Writing in German (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2006)

For Lenz reading his work in German, click here:

For Lenz reading his "Offene unruh," click below:


an elder lady a walker crutch
streetside curb and whitish pigeon
there rolls the walker on along old woman
and with her shoe bad on foot
will set to work there
and then turn to the left
and tipped over once on the right
the hollow swallow, and soon
flies are in
oh oh!
nah, really no
over the bridge the trains does race
and then?

—Translated from the German by Brian Currid

riddle, cross, a trial

a bop without a bug

who hears what comes from outside I.
could only be a car mount's tone
that no one misses, that comes alone
all on its own from where the heck.

what i am not that feeds on need
so that thinking bites the rounder.
for he courts the miller
with sluggers every hour.

for homeland's sake he bends a rule
look here look here iamb you too
how longer still the über alles
shush, dear country, pressed for dollars.

before I something from without
for none devours the entire hour
about the smock and silence
the judge will want to bend.

and all's questions oven.

Translated from the German by Brian Currid

the cup, the hangman

the mass, the handle
the lacking proportion, the handle's meal
the measured tankard, the hangman's axe
the measure that divides
the cup, the book

—Translated from the German by Brian Currid

almost unaltered

The power source of the iron hammer is waterpower.
An immensely embattled waterwheel transmits
power to the huge hammer shaft.
On this a cam ring sits
that pushes down the tail end of the hammer shaft.

On the other end of the shaft this cases
the pulled back hammer bar to be suspended
The tail of the hammer hits a steel plate
that allows it to bounce back instantly
so that the head of the hammer strikes the anvil.
The process then repeats.

Translated from the German by Brian Currid

English language translations copyright ©2005 by Brian Currid. Reprinted from Douglas Messerli, ed., The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 7: At Villa Aurora—Nine Contemporary Poets Writing in German (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2006). Copyright ©2006 by Douglas Messerli and Green Integer

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