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Poet

Ulrike Almut Sandig

Ulrike Almut Sandig

Ulrike Almut Sandig

(Germany, 1979)
Biography
Born in rural Großenhain in former East Germany in 1979, Ulrike Almut Sandig started life as a kind of guerrilla poet, pasting poems onto lamp posts on the streets of Leipzig with friends and handing them out on flyers and free postcards. These early projects ‘augenpost’ (eye mail) along with ‘ohrenpost’ (ear mail) give a sense already of the importance she places on freeing poetry from its conventional setting and taking it to the reader, especially a reader who might not have engaged with poetry before.
Her first collection Zunder (‘Tinder’, 2005) an old word meaning tinder, provided a characteristically emphatic arrival. These poems crackle with inventiveness, darting off in all directions. Even its publishing history hints at this intensity: the collection was reissued in a revised format in 2009 with some poems having altered beyond recognition. Streumen (2007) develops the tension between movement and homecoming which will dominate her later collections too. The poems hover constantly between the real and the imaginary, powered by the ‘longing’ for unknown vistas. Dickicht (‘Thicket’, 2011) continues the emotional itinerary between an imagined North and South but, as the title suggests, the poems enter a ‘thicket’ that is at once the world, the psyche and language. Large historical concerns constantly inscribe themselves into the vital textures of the individual. Certainly, the 2016 Raps collection which includes the virtuoso ‘Grimm’ cycle continues this trajectory with references to the legacy of fascism, forced migration, xenophobia and torture. But hers is not an overtly confessional lyric, rather an architectural one, and one that playfully ventriloquizes sources from advertising slogans to literature, the Bible or children’s rhymes. As one poem has it: ‘I am a double-voiced bird’. Blisteringly contemporary, but with a kind of austerity too; by turns ironic or nostalgic, her writing is also profoundly musical. This is underlined by her own performances as well as her collaborations with other poets, composers, filmmakers including Ukrainian poet and musician Grigory Semenchuk with whom she has formed the poetry-band Landschaft.
© Karen Leeder
Poetry
Zunder (Tinder). Connewitzer Vlgsbhdlg, Leipzig, 2005/2009
Streumen (Streumen). Connewitzer Vlgsbhdlg, Leipzig, 2007
Dickicht (Thicket). Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2011
Grimm. Achtzehn Gedichte nach den Kinder- und Hausmärchen von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm, (Grimm. Eighteen poems after the Takes of the Borthers Grimm), Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2015
ich bin ein Feld voller Raps verstecke die Rehe und leuchte wie dreizehn Ölgemälde übereinandergelegt (I am a filed full of rapesees give cover to deer and shine like thirteen oil-paintings laid one on top of the other), Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2016
Ulrike Almut Sandig. Poesiealbum. 323. Märkischer Verlag, Wilhelmshorst, 2016

Musical Audiobook
der tag, an dem alma kamillen kaufte (the day on which alma bought camomile). With Marlen Pelny.  2006
Märzwald (with Marlen Pelny). Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2011
‘Gesänge des Funkturms’ (Songs of the Radio-tower) (with Grigory Semenchuk). 2017.
Landschaft (Landscape) (with Grigory Semenchuk). Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2018

Radio Plays
Hush little Baby. First emission on SWR2am (07/12/2008)
Unter Wasser (Under Water). First emission on SWR2am (11/04/2010).

Narrative
Flamingos, Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2010
Buch gegen das Verschwinden (Book against Disappearance). Schoeffling & Co, Frankfurt, 2015

Translated poetry
Missing Witness. Trans. Bradley Schmidt, Ugly Duckling Press, New York, 2015
Thick of It. Trans. Karen Leeder, Seagull Press, Calcutta, 2018
Grimm. Trans. Karen Leeder, Hurst Street Press, Oxford, 2018

Selected Awards
Lyrikpreis Meran (2006)
Hertha Koenig-Förderpreis (2006)
Stipendium im Künstlerhaus Lukas Ahrenshoop (2007)
Förderpreis zum Ernst-Meister-Preis für Lyrik (2008)
Förderpreis zum Lessing-Preis des Freistaates Sachsen (2009)
Leonce-und-Lena-Preis (2009)
Silberschweinpreis der Lit.Cologne (2010)
Förderpreis zum Droste-Preis der Stadt Meersburg (2012)
Literaturpreis des Kulturkreises der deutschen Wirtschaft (2017)
Stipendium der Villa Concordia Bamberg (2017)
Wilhelm-Lehmann-Preis (2018)
Horst Bingel-Preis für Literatur (2018)
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère