Numbered Days

Dagmar Nick; Jim Barnes, trans.

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These poems are filled with the sadness of loss that is ultimately gain in the psyche of one unerring voice. Each poem is jewel-sharp and distinct, yet many-faceted in its knowledge of light and dark.

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Description

These poems are filled with the sadness of loss that is ultimately gain in the psyche of one unerring voice. Each poem is jewel-sharp and distinct, yet many-faceted in its knowledge of light and dark. This book is ideal for classes in translation and in world literature, because the original German text and the English translation are on facing pages.

 

Dagmar Nick has found, in fellow poet Jim Barnes, the best possible translator for her work. The poems, dense and sharp in the original, are rendered with great skill, care, and lyric force. Jim Barnes has done a very worthwhile thing in making them available to us.

—Lucien Stryk

Barnes has produced a magnificent piece of work. His sensitivity and command of the German and English languages are evident in every one of his translated poems.

—Wolff von Schmidt

Jim Barnes has done us all a good turn, given the awesome care he has taken with these line-by-line renderings in English of Dagmar Nick’s tightly wrought free-form poems. Now through his good offices we can experience this prolific German writer’s angry and compassionate poems. Her world, which Barnes translates for us here, has no parallel on the American scene today.

—John Knoepfle

Contents

Flugwetter / Flying Weather
Flugwetter / Flying Weather
Frosteinbrüche / First Frost
Im Gebirge / In the Mountains
Überlegung / Reflection
Versuchsweise / Tentatively
Verheißungen / Promises
Schuldsprüche / Blame
Europa erinnert / Europa Remembers
Feststellung / Assessment
Föhn / Foehn
Treibjagd / Flushing the Game
Nebelland / Land of Mist
Spätherbst / Late Fall

Veränderungen / Metamorphoses
Altern / Aging
Freundschaft / Friendship
Alter ego / Alter Ego
Ableben / Demise
Gewisse Ungewißheiten / Certain Doubts
Abschiede / Farewells
Ausgefragt / Speaking Out
Zweikampf / Duel
Wahrnehmung / Observation
Angebot / Offer
Hermes Psychopompos / Hermes Psychopomp
Ergebnis / Result
Flug / Flight
Dieses Herz / This Heart
An Dich / To You
Veränderungen / Metamorphoses
Prognose / Prognosis
Übergang / Crossing Over
Absprung / Leap
Wendepunkt / Solstitial Point

Gezählte Tage / Numbered Days
Gezählte Tage / Numbered Days
Sterben I / Dying I
Sterben II / Dying II
Auf Abruf / On Call
Scherbengericht / Ostracism
Botschaft / Tidings
Mein Messer / My Knife
Alltäglich / Quotidian
Salve / Volley
Diese Zeit / This Time
Sterben III / Dying III
Nicht Lethe / Not Lethe
Confessio / Confessio
Am Ufer / On the Shore
Ich bin nicht Äneas / I Am Not Aeneas

Griechische Augenblicke / Greek Moments
Kykladensommer / Cycladic Summer
Griechischer Tempel / Greek Temple
D., Kreta verlassend / D., Leaving Crete
Sturmnacht auf Naxos / Night Storm at Naxos
Ich, Theseus / I, Theseus
Dionysischer Augenblick, Naxos / Dionysian Moment, Naxos
Mänaden / Maenads
Szenenwechsel mit Persephone / Scene Change with Persephone
Ägäis / Aegean

Titles and First Lines

Authors

About the Author
Dagmar Nick was born in Breslau, Germany, in 1926 to Edmund Nick, a composer, and Kaete Nick-Jaenicke, an actress and singer. She studied graphology and psychology in Munich, where she now lives with her husband, Dr. Kurt Braun. She has authored seven books of poetry as well as a number of radio plays and essays, prose pieces, and translations of Robert Frost and others. A member of the Deutschen Schriftstellerverbandes and PEN, her honors include the Liliencron Prize, the Eichendorf Prize, the Ehrengabe zum Gryphius Prize, the Roswithavon- Gandersheim Medal, the Tukan Prize, and the Andreas-Gryphius Prize.

About the Translator
Jim Barnes was writer-in-residence and professor of comparative literature at Truman State University, where he also edited the Chariton Review. Of Choctaw and Welsh ancestry, Barnes has authored eight books of poetry, a critical book, and an autobiography. His poems have appeared in more than forty anthologies (including The Pushcart Prize V) and scores of magazines (including The Nation, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, The Formalist, and many more). He has given readings all over the United States and Europe and has received a number of grants, fellowships, and residencies, including a Rockefeller Bellagio Award. His earlier translation of Dagmar Nick’s Summons and Sign (Zeugnis und Zeichen), won the 1980 Translation Prize from the Translation Center at Columbia University. His Sawdust War earned the Oklahoma Book Award in 1993.

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