Poetry International Poetry International

Lea Schneider

Lea Schneider

Lea Schneider

(Germany, 1989)
Born in Cologne in 1989, Lea Schneider is one of the most interesting poets of her young generation. She studied Comparative Literature, Chinese, Linguistics and Sociology in Shanghai, Taipei, and Berlin, where she lives and works today as a poet, essayist, and translator of Chinese poetry. She is a member of the Poetry Collective G13, a group of poets who experiment with forms of collective writing and poetry as performance. In 2014, her debut collection Invasion rückwärts (‘Invasion in reverse’) won the Dresden Poetry Prize; it was followed in 2016 by O0, a multimedia-based e-book in cooperation with Tillmann Severin, a novelist, and Sebastian Severin, a sculptor. She was writer-in-residence of the Goethe Institute Nanjing, China, in 2016 and is a recipient of the German 2018 Post-Poetry Award. Her most recent publications include internationaler tag der reparatur (‘international repair day’), a translation of poems by Beijing-based writer and performer Yan Jun, and the anthology CHINABOX. Neue Lyrik aus der Volksrepublik (‘CHINABOX. New Poetry from the People's Republic’), which features translations of twelve Chinese poets and an introduction to contemporary Chinese poetry. Schneider is currently working on her second volume of poetry, which will be a formal mixture of the essay, poetry and translation. ‘nanjing in autumn’ is an excerpt from that work in progress.
Prose poetry is not very common in the German tradition, much less in contemporary German poetry. This inevitably leads to the question of how Lea Schneider, co-founder of the Berlin-based poetry collective G13, came to write this award-winning debut collection. According to Schneider, the answer lies in her study of comparative literature and engagement with poetry from China, or, rather, Taiwan. The Anglophone tradition of prose poetry had been picked up by several poets with whom Lea Schneider interacted and some of whom she translated. Thematically, many of the poems in Schneider’s first collection are equally informed by her scholarship and a persistent questioning of utopias and realities, often directed by associative leaps or logical progressions. One German reviewer correctly noted that Schneider stages miniature dramas in a subjunctive tense. Born in 1989, hers is a committed, political voice, often emerging in the second or third reading – like a Trojan horse – commenting on issues ranging from rape culture to materialism to the way catastrophes become media events. Another aspect that makes her poems bear multiple readings is the sly mixture between precise description, stylistic sophistication, and well-placed irritating elements. The initial spark often seems to be a technical term or concept that is then slightly distorted, the ambiguity exploited for mental associations or journeys down the rabbit hole. These are poems that invite the reader to ponder, laugh, and question what we know about the world and ourselves – though not necessarily in that order.

Finally, Schneider’s approach has been influenced significantly by collaborative and collective work as well as the mixture between translation and her ‘own’ writing. The seamless transitions between the essay and poetry forms come from the Chinese scene. She has adopted a label coined by Xi Chuan, calling her writing ‘poessays’.
© Bradley Schmidt

Full-length volumes
Invasion rückwärts. Verlagshaus Berlin, 2014

das war absicht. Sukultur, 2013
O0. Verlagshaus Berlin, 2016

Full-length volume translations
CHINABOX. Neue Lyrik aus der Volksrepublik. Verlagshaus Berlin, 2016
internationaler tag der reparatur. Hochroth, Berlin, 2016

Poems, essays and translations online
Lyrikline / 10 poems + sound recordings from "Invasion in reverse"
Yu Xiuhua / essay & translation / Edition Bahia, 2018
Xi Chuan / essay & translation / Edition Bahia, 2018
Text vs. Welt (Teil 1, Teil 2, Teil 3, Teil 4) / essay / Verlagshaus Berlin Blackbox Blog, 2017
ich merke, dass ich mich wiederhole / Poetryletter Nr. 265 / Fixpoetry

Poems, essays and translations in magazines
Vogel verschiedener Grose / essay & translation (Sun Wenbo) / akzente, 2017
Place de la Sorbonne / poems translated into French / Paris, 2017
herr zhang san fahrt im minibus durch die stadt / translation (Zhou Zan) / Edit, 2016
Europa / long poem / akzente, 2016
Poet 17 / poems / Poetenladen Verlag, 2014
Bellestristik 12 / poems / Verlagshaus Berlin, 2012
No Man’s Land 7 / poem translated into English / 2012
Magazin der Bundeskulturstiftung 19 / translation (Yan Jun) / Bundeskulturstiftung, 2012
Poetry East West 西东诗 4 / poems, translated into Chinese / 2011

Poems and translations in anthologies
Dichter ubersetzen Dichter / poems & translations from Chinese / Goethe-Institut Peking, 2018
Unmogliche Liebe / translations from Middle High German / Hanser, 2017
Lob der mechanischen Ente / poems / Sukultur, 2017
Jahrbuch der Lyrik 2017 / poems / Schoffling, 2017
VERSschmuggel / Поэтическая диВЕРСия / poems & translations from Russian / Wunderhorn, 2016
Lyrik von Jetzt 3 / Gedichte / Wallstein, 2015
Jahrbuch der Lyrik 2013 / Gedichte / dva, 2013
20. Open Mike / Gedichte / Allitera, 2012
Poems of Lea Schneider
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Lira fonds
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère