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I write, translate, and study poetry. As a doctoral student at Amerika-Institut of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, I'm now anatomizing Robinson's sonnets for my dissertation. I also tutor writing at the university, teach English at Münchner Volkshochschule, and advise the Amerikahaus literary circle.

20150522

Früher Apollo

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Wie manches Mal durch das noch unbelaubte 
Gezweig ein Morgen durchsieht, der schon ganz 
im Frühling ist: so ist in seinem Haupte 
nichts was verhindern könnte, daß der Glanz 

aller Gedichte uns fast tödlich träfe; 
denn noch kein Schatten ist in seinem Schaun, 
zu kühl für Lorbeer sind noch seine Schläfe 
und später erst wird aus den Augenbraun 

hochstämmig sich der Rosengarten heben, 
aus welchem Blätter, einzeln, ausgelöst 
hintreiben werden auf des Mundes Beben, 

der jetzt noch still ist, niegebraucht und blinkend 
und nur mit seinem Lächeln etwas trinkend 
als würde ihm sein Singen eingeflößt.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150521

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

by James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,   
Asleep on the black trunk, 
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.   
Down the ravine behind the empty house,   
The cowbells follow one another   
Into the distances of the afternoon.   
To my right, 
In a field of sunlight between two pines,   
The droppings of last year’s horses   
Blaze up into golden stones. 
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.   
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home. 
I have wasted my life.

20150519

And death shall have no dominion

by Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon; 
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot; 
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; 
Though lovers be lost love shall not; 
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily; 
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; 
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through; 
Split all ends up they shan't crack; 
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores; 
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain; 
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; 
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion. 


Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150516

The Dead Village

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Here there is death. But even here, they say,
Here where the dull sun shines this afternoon
As desolate as ever the dead moon
Did glimmer on dead Sardis, men were gay;
And there were little children here to play,       
With small soft hands that once did keep in tune
The strings that stretch from heaven, till too soon
The change came, and the music passed away.

Now there is nothing but the ghosts of things,—
No life, no love, no children, and no men;       
And over the forgotten place there clings
The strange and unrememberable light
That is in dreams. The music failed, and then
God frowned, and shut the village from His sight.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150514

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

by Dylan Thomas
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.
Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150513

Spenser! a jealous honourer of thine,

by John Keats

Spenser! a jealous honourer of thine,
A forester deep in thy midmost trees,
Did last eve ask my promise to refine
Some English that might strive thine ear to please.
But, Elfin Poet, ’tis impossible
For an inhabitant of wintry earth
To rise like Phœbus with a golden quill
Fire-wing’d and make a morning in his mirth.
It is impossible to escape from toil
O’ the sudden and receive thy spiriting;
The flower must drink the nature of the soil
Before it can put forth its blossoming;
Be with me in the summer days, and I
Will for thine honour and his pleasure try. 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

20150511

Shakespeares Hundred Sekstende Sonet


Gid aldrig jeg må se trofaste sinds
forening hindret. Kærlighed beskæmmes,
hvis dens værdi er som den lette vinds
og den i tid forfalder til at glemmes.
Nej, nej, den er det klippefaste mærke,
som ingen storm kan bringe til at fejle,
en stjerne for hver båd på bølger stærke,
af ukendt værd og vægt, men let at pejle.
Sand kærlighed for Tiden aldrig gruer,
skønt Tidens le går hårdt til rosenkinder;
den følger ikke timer eller uger,
men holder ved, til dommedag oprinder.
Hvis det er usandhed, af mig bedrevet,
har ingen elsket og jeg aldrig skrevet.