Seascape
Seascape

Heimrad Bäcker

translated by Patrick Greaney

Poetry | $25 $18
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"What is the poetry of Auschwitz?" — Vanessa Place

Heimrad Bäcker’s Seascape uses documentary material to recount a minor historical episode from World War II: the crew of a German submarine comes upon three men on a Norwegian lifeboat and refuses to take them on board. Bäcker’s account of Nazi inhumanity uncannily echoes Un coup de dés, Marcel Broodthaers’ A Voyage on the North Sea, and other nautical texts of the avant-garde.

Excerpt ˇ

Excerpt

0800  Qu. AL 0175, SW 4/5,
         heavy rain, moderate
         seas, poor visibility.

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About the Author

Heimrad Bäcker
Photo credit: ©Lintschinger

Heimrad Bäcker (1925-2003) was an artist, poet, and influential editor of the Austrian avant-garde. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry, includingtranscript (Dalkey Archive Press, 2010). He published major works by Austrian artists and experimental writers in his journal neue texte (1968-1991) and under the imprint of Edition Neue Texte (1976-1992), the publishing house that he ran along with his wife Margret Bäcker. Most of his literary works draw on the methods of concrete and visual poetry to present documentary material about the Shoah. These books were historical and literary, and they were also part of a critical autobiography, an examination of Bäcker’s enthusiastic participation in the Hitler Youth and the Nazi Party. Seascape was Bäcker’s first book; it was published in German in 1985, when he was 60.

About the Translator

Patrick Greaney is the author of Untimely Beggar: Poverty and Power from Baudelaire to Benjamin (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and In a Near Future: Quotation and History in Contemporary Literature and Art (University of Minnesota Press). He co-translated Bäcker’stranscript and curated Landscape M, the first major exhibition of Bäcker’s visual works outside of Austria, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. He is an associate professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Other Contributors

Charles Bernstein is author of Recalculating (University of Chicago Press, 2013), Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (Chicago, 2011),  and All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. More info at epc.buffalo.edu.