Kochanie, Today I Bought Bread (Paperback)

Kochanie, Today I Bought Bread By Uljana Wolf, Greg Nissan (Translator), Valzhyna Mort (Editor) Cover Image
By Uljana Wolf, Greg Nissan (Translator), Valzhyna Mort (Editor)
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The lyrical, imaginatively-crafted debut collection by one of Germany's most important contemporary poets explores the "shifting of the mouth" toward the other, toward translation, toward a reckoning with historical silences.

In KOCHANIE, TODAY I BOUGHT BREAD, Uljana Wolf crosses borders from East Germany into Poland, from fairy tales to the tallying of land torn by fateful past, from women's voices "hibernating in documents," to Lavinia's spilling forth of red language. Hailed by critics for its "brief strokes that open up a wide historical space in which political doom is still present," this book is a testament that the cartography we inherit is equal parts limit and dare. Wolf's debut collection won the Peter Huchel Prize in 2006--she was its youngest recipient. Nearly 20 years later, this bilingual edition--featuring a new introduction by Valzhyna Mort and Greg Nissan's superbly-tuned translation--invites English-language readers into the "guest room" of poetry.

"Uljana Wolf's first book begins with pain, a hospital, with a daughter who rebels against the controlling word of the fathers. But it goes farther. Its mouth shifts, playfully inventive, though with a dark undertone of Polish-German history, to find bread in language. Then even a mattress becomes translatable and everything connects 'in this border trade / on my tongue.'"--Rosmarie Waldrop

"Nissan's translations skillfully keep pace with Wolf's brilliant word - and worldsmithery."--Susan Bernofsky

"The persistent word/sonic plays in KOCHANIE, TODAY I BOUGHT BREAD, brilliantly re-rendered by Greg Nissan, are Uljana Wolf's defiance--'my defiance is my instrument'--against Germany's fascist history. The multiplicity of 'mouths' and 'daughters' topple 'sir father herr father, ' generating linguistic displacement, hence subverting power and borders. Wolf's language of defiance is a form of 'linguistic hospitality, ' to borrow Paul Ricoeur's term. She simultaneously welcomes and deforms 'our father's embroidered word.'"--Don Mee Choi

"The child works tirelessly with language. Why is this ability lost to us? Why do we avoid foreign languages except when we can abuse them as proof of achievement? Uljana Wolf's approach to languages is extremely sympathetic, liberating, and stimulating.... When she connects words with elegant lines, crossing the boundaries between languages, an unexpected structure appears as poetry. This is comparable to constellations: Between the individual stars lies a distance of millions of light years, but because their radiation reaches our presence at the same time, we can recognize an image."--Yoko Tawada, Erlanger Prize Citation (2015)

"One of Germany's most respected and original poets, Uljana Wolf is also a masterful writer of prose.--Alexander Wells, Exberliner

"All in all, Wolf's poetry and Nissan's translation offer powerful commentary on the present and the past, making use not only of the words themselves, but also the spaces around and in-between them, on the page and beyond."--Anna Rumsby, Asymptote

"Wolf's serious play aims at rehabilitating language in the wake of atrocity."--Daniel Rabuzzi


Product Details
ISBN: 9781954218154
ISBN-10: 195421815X
Publisher: World Poetry Books
Publication Date: October 26th, 2023
Pages: 128
Language: English