Poems and Texts

“dancing double speech” by Uljana Wolf, translated by Sophie Seita

dancing double speech

i went to the tingel-tangel to angle lengevitch. in the cloakroam every woman received a twin language with identical clothes, a dabbling double. but the mirrors showed only one of us—i gulped: cold spit, spooky skit. behind us word-rabbits scampered out of ashbery’s hat. to the ballroom then, to circumdance my twin; at the bar a tassel of coffee with mrs stein. me, seeing ghosts!? a voice gasped from the niches where thinking remained a bit dunkeldeutsch: mister schleiermacher in his philosopher pajamas. a little box of watercress in front of his chest, nonplussed: sprouts on a white cloth! without soil! without roots! i wanted to ask for some seeds, but my twin bolted, cutting the rug with the man. two heads are better than ohne, advised mrs stein, and packed her buttons wieder ein.

from: Uljana Wolf: Subsisters. Selected Poems. Edited and translated from the German by Sophie Seita. Belladonna*, forthcoming Summer 2017

Photo: Katja Zimmermann

Uljana Wolf

Uljana Wolf is a poet and translator based in Brooklyn and Berlin. She published four books of poetry in German and translated numorous writers from English snd Polish into German, among them Yoko Ono, John Ashbery, Erin Moure, Cole Swensen, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Christian Hawkey, and Eugene Ostashevsky. Her most recent German publication is “Wandernde Errands,” an essay on the translingual poetics of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (Wunderhorn 2016). English translations of her work appeared in several chapbooks, among them “i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where”, translated by Sophie Seita (Wonder Press, Brooklyn 2015). Forthcoming is “Subsisters. Selected poems,” edited and translated by Sophie Seita (Belladonna*, summer 2017). Uljana Wolf teaches German language and literary translation at New York University, the Pratt Institute, Humboldt University Berlin and the Institute für Sprachkunst, Vienna.

Sophie Seita

Sophie Seita is a poet, playwright, translator, and scholar. Her most recent chapbook is Meat (Little Red Leaves, 2015). She’s the editor of a facsimile reprint of The Blind Man (UDP, 2017) and the translator of Uljana Wolf’s i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where (Wonder, 2015) and Subsisters: Selected Poems (Belladonna, 2017), for which she received a 2015 PEN/Heim Award. Other writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Bomb, Emergency Index, The White Review, Gauss PDF, Currently & Emotion, and PEN America. Her play Les Bijoux Indiscrets, or, Paper Tigers, will be performed at La MaMa Galleria in March 2017. She is a Junior Research Fellow in English at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, working on her first monograph, tentatively called, Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital.

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