November 26, 2012

Sabine Scho

Sabine Scho [Germany]
Born in Ochtrup in 1970, Sabine Scho studied German and Philosophy in Müster. She now lives in São Paulo, Brazil and Berlin. Her first volume of poetry, Thomas Kling entdeckt Sabine Scho, was published to great acclaim in 2001, and reprinted under the title Album in 2008. For that book she won the prestigious Leonce and Lena Prize for young poets (along with Silke Scheuermann). She has also won the Ernst-Meister-Förderpreis and the Förderpreis des Landes NRW.

     In 2003 she also published a new collection of poetry, Farben (Colors) in which 33 poems are each devoted to a different color.

     Scho has also performed internationally and in her own radio play, Grober Rundfunk (Coarse Radio), and with Monika Rinck and Ann Cotton developed the “Rotten-Kinck-Schow,” a combination of lyrical experiments and theoretical excursus. The three have met six times at Kaffee Burger in Berlin, and in the Literaturhaus Wien and the Museum Folkwang.

     In 2010 Scho, with Ulf Stolterfoht, published Frauen-Liebe und Leben: Variationen zu Adelbert voon Chamisso (A Woman’s Love and Life: Variations on Adelbert von Chamisso).  

     She is a member of the writers group “Forum der 13.”

     Scho was a fellow at the Villa Aurora in Los Angeles in 2003.



 Thomas Kling entdeckt Sabine Scho (Hamburg: Europa Verlag, 2001; reprinted as Album (Berlin: Kookbooks, 2008); Farben (Berlin: Kookbooks, 2008); Frauen-Liebe und Leben: Variationen zu Adelbert von Chamisso (with Ulf Stolterfoht) (Berlin: Hochroth, 2010)


 Several poems 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)

Horst and His New Opel

Captain take us with you, spacious
six-seater, six cylinders, pan-
oramic windshield, stretching right
back into the side panels, ride quality of
the big Americans, the real big ones
wheels, thirteen-inch, with super balloon
tires, wide shark’s mouth grille, enormous
trunk, with courtesy light, no
carefully rounded forms or pontoon
bodywork any more, 4.8 meters long, fenders
chromed in a galvanic bath, just
thinking about it causes galvanic
skin reactions, rust-proofing, two-tone
paintwork, pastel shades, Opel dealers everywhere, uni-
versal GM dealer network, Horst
proud owner of a Kapitän / Kapitän L, road
cruiser bristling with canon, privateer on the prowl, when
it suddenly emerges it frightens the señoritas on the road
sides, athletically built new-world hunger, always too
fast, Shell AG (60 pfennigs a liter)—“that’s how
to fill up!”—makes driving a real pleasure,
the driving force behind asphalted lawns, playing-fields
Opel’s test track on land, on water, in the air, looking
down from the bridge onto the freeway, onto feeder roads with
great swooping spans, to speed 140 kph, real
power under the hood, where pistons work, pansexual
out for a spin, no nesting, no resting, no rusting, no
settling down, nowhere, look ahead not behind, eyes
glued to the highway,
stopping, turning, reversing are forbidden, you follow roads
without intersections, bypassing towns, straw man with
a straw bag in the stowage space, gets mobile still foregoing
family happiness, Horst in his new Opel, swinging
its shark’s snout in the airstream, air cooled,
lord of the situation, lieutenant of the street, take me with you
Captain in your long-haul trip, take me with you
if there’s an accident, the paramedics appear
many accidents are caused by the dashboard,
recognized as being fatal more often than not, the
force behind the rush-hour, the wrecking force
composed of mass and velocity
buckling the chrome finish, bursting the radiator, skulls through
the windscreen, passenger’s teeth punched
into the metal dashboard, jaws broken
my driver’s not coming back the whole model a solitary
single-purpose machine, “pedal to the metal
get me through this” small consolation for
the man at the wheel, after seven-tenths of a
single second—as demonstrated by Detroit
dummies—it’s all over, the trip ruined,
no longer innerly secure, the journey
to the demi-monde in a chassis from Opel’s trained
demiurges now over, that’s how
everything was supposed to be, of course I’d give up
pay, rank, and status, changing that “just
depends what the whole story costs”

(from Thomas Kling entdeckt Sabine Scho, 2001)

Translated from the German by Tony Frazer



what a flooring,
that linoleum on which the wet
dog is best friend to the boot and pant leg
before it dries out in the u bahn
only on wet days
only as a print, only as fur,
where the watercolour itself
does not dry
on these clammy
days before a springtime
that hides itself
from animals

(from Farben, 2008)

Translated from the German by Toby Axelrod


“Horst in His New Opel,” reprinted from Chicago Review: New Writing in German, Vol 48, nos. 2/3 (Summer 2002). Copyright ©2002 by Chicago Review. Reprinted by permission of Tony Frazer.
“orange,” reprinted from Shampoo 35 (March 2009). Translation copyright ©2009 by Toby Axelrod.


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