Short translations of poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in n+1, Gigantic, Hanging Loose, Words Without Borders, FIELD, Stonecutter, and The Agriculture Reader. Book-length works include Glass! Love!! Perpetual Motion!!!: A Paul Scheerbart Reader, Anna Katharina Hahn’s Shorter Days, and Monika Held’s This Place Holds No Fear. In addition to translating, she published an essay on translating Thomas Brasch for the 2012 issue of Text+Kritik dedicated to the latter’s work, and is a regular reviewer for Words Without Borders. Posten lives and works in New York.
Selection of translated titles:
- Monika Held: This Place Holds No Fear (Der Schrecken verliert sich vor Ort). Haus Publ., 2015
- Tankred Dorst: This Beautiful Place (Der schöne Ort). Hanging Loose Press, 2012
Three questions to Anne Posten:
Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
I became a translator because I love working with language and because I find it to be the closest, most challenging, and pleasurable way to encounter a text. It’s a joy to share writing that I love with English-language readers, and it’s a privilege to be trusted with an author’s words—to be able to live with a text and become part of it in a way beyond reading.
I knew I wanted to be a translator as soon as I translated my first poem. As a lifelong musician, reader, writer, and lover of German culture, translation was the answer to my prayers—a career that combined elements of all of those things.
Which German book do you like the best and why?
I could never pick a favorite book, in German or any other language, but Thomas Brasch—a German writer who was himself also a translator—is the person whose work I first loved enough to attempt to translate it. I will also always think of the first short story I ever read in German, by the Swiss writer Peter Bichsel. I have continued to love his work and the combination of empathy and dark humor present in both his work and that of other Swiss writers such as Franz Hohler.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
Speaking of empathy and dark humor, I’ve really fallen in love with the work of the young novelist Verena Rossbacher, who grew up in Austria and Switzerland and lives in Berlin. I’d love to translate either of her books: Verlangen nach Drachen, a book about a woman from the perspective of six former- or would-be-lovers, or Schwätzen und Schlachten, a funny, moving, and erudite metafictional murder mystery.