Sebald’s Selected Poems
Carl Hanser Verlag has just come out with a beautiful edition of selected poems by W.G. Sebald, Über das Land und das Wasser (Over the Land and the Water). It contains more than sixty poems written by Sebald between 1964 and 2001, selected by Sven Meyer, who also provides the book with an afterword. Nearly half of the poems are previously unpublished. The volume itself is nicely produced, with a wonderful dust jacket photograph of Sebald by Isolde Ohlbaum. The boards are covered in a handsome textured white paper with tiny flecks of color. The spine has a wine-colored leather label. All for the reasonable price of 14,90 Euros (about $20 today). There is no indication how large the first printing was.
I have had mixed feelings about Sebald’s poetry so far (I think Unrecounted is especially problematic). Much of the poetry that has appeared in English so far lacks the complex narratorial voice that is the essence of his prose works. But the publication of Über das Land und das Wasser helps bridge the gap between his hyper-short poems and his long masterpiece After Nature. I hope there is an English translation in the works.