February 12, 2012

Monika Rinck

Monika Rinck (Germany)

Monika Rinck was born in Zweibrücken, Germany in 1969 and now lives in Berlin. Her university studies were devoted to history, comparative literature, and religious studies, after which she began to attract attention through her website Begriffsstudio (www.begriffsstudio.de), which published conceptual works and strange neologisms, collected into a book in 2001).

     Her first book of poetry, Verzückte Distanzen appeared in 2004, followed by zum fernbleiben der umarmung (2007), HELLE VERWIRUNG/ Rincks Ding-und Tierleben (2009). In 2006, Rinck published a collection of essays, Ah, das Love-Ding.

    Rinck has described her own concerns: I’m interested in systems of thought, I’m interested in thought in general. The question why we like one philosopher better than the other. What is it that renders a thought appealing? If you break it down to very tiny pieces, they might fall through the grid of pure rational argumentation. Then there’s a kind of logic to dreams and seasons, to mysticism, to emotional deprivation, to depression, to lack, to happiness, to whatsoever one thinks. And if some things or qualities come together as a metaphor in this process, it has to be logical as well, in thought, even though it’s expanding the strict philosophical sense of logic. I’m thinking of O’Hara’s manifesto for personism and the claim that you have to avoid being logical, for pain always produces logic. I recall a friend of mine who reads Hegel’s Logic whenever she feels sad. The process I’m interested in is a bit like working on new logical relations or units, of thought, which don’t produce stupidity or pain. And if they should produce stupidity then they will be like an oasis in the desert, where you stop to water your camels, in a refreshing sense. Maybe what Benjamin was thinking of when he attested a form of “plumpes Denken,” of “crude or clumsy thinking” to Brecht.  

     She has received numerous award of her writing, including the Ernst Meister Prize in 2008, the Arno Reinfrank Prize in 2009, and the Georg K. Glaser Prize in 2010.

     In 2011 the American publishing house, Burning Deck, translated and published zum fernbleiben der umarmung as to refrain from embracing.


Verzückte Distanzen (Springe, Germany: zu Klampen, 2004); zum fernbleiben der umarmung (Berlin: kookbooks, 2007); HELLE VERWIRUNG/ Rincks Ding-und (Berlin: kookbooks, 2009).


 to refrain from embracing, translated by Nicholas Grindell (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2011)

what about the animals?

now that it's becoming clear, consider my animal cooked.
futro. the fur. foaming and oiling, the heat of the prongs,
the limp little animal. the neighbours the neighbours
what were their names? it's coming unstuck, coming loose.
timbers work themselves free. a piece of downright
slapdashery, botched from start to finish, it's a fiasco.
the blond roof of straw. how it thrashes about. battles
the wind with the wind, a beating. a rumbling.
anything the salvage or extinguish, perhaps? anything burning?
do the animals need evacuating? plucking from the flames
at the very last moment? no, i hear no screaming.
the animals are fine. which means you can rest at last.

-Translated from the German by Nicholas Grindell
(from zum fernbleiben der umarmung, 2007)

the car

in his mind, he's long since put me on my flight.
in his mind, he's already woven his hair into hers.
the bucket seat. as if, in its depths, people might sweat
from down below with a strangled bleat. there must be
something sloping in this car, or an illusion.
i took the infernal machine, except that the driver
had a hump, a bridge arching out from the middle
of his back, which i didn't notice 'til my hand was on it,
the edges identical, identical to mine. my hands, that is.

brownish like an arm when the cast comes off at last
the driver sat beside me. as if we were on a descent,
to the left the lie or the chasm, and i looked down
into a valley where it was thawing. the water running off.
distance cured as quick as it came, you say?
yes and no, waterfalls plunged feathers and fragile ribs,
some kind of remote skeletons. stop blubbing,
i tell him. you're crying again, everything will get
wet or perish. the airport run. we're travelling
flooded lanes, yes, are you blubbing again, you swine?

-Translated from the German by Nicholas Grindell
(from zum fernbleiben der umarmung, 2007)

English language (c) copyright by Nicholas Grindell, 2011. Published from  to refrain from embracing, translated by Nicholas Grindell (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2011).

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