A collection of vivid, tightly knit poems from one of the most important contemporary poets writing in German.
The Art of Topiary
is the gorgeous product of a long and careful collaboration between Jan Wagner and American poet David Keplinger. With the care of master gardeners tending their plants, Wagner and Keplinger have shaped Wagner’s originals—acclaimed internationally, now in English for the first time—into precise, delightful, and highly modern translations. Along the way, the collection unfolds dialogues between discipline and freedom, sound and sense, faithfulness and improvisation. In these poems, formal structures are a corset loosened by each line of verse, a garden always pleasurably at risk of being overrun.
Compact, lightfooted, and curious, The Art of Topiary
is the exciting American debut of a stunning and joyful voice in global literature.
Winner of the 2017 Georg Büchner Prize, the most important literary accolade for the German language, Jan Wagner
is a German poet, essayist, and translator. His collections of poems include Guerickes Sperling, Achtzehn Pasteten, Australien
, and Regentonnenvariationen
, for which he was awarded the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. The Art of Topiary
is the first translation of Wagner’s work into English. The editor of two influential anthologies of German language poetry, including, with the poet Björn Kuhligk, Poetry of the Now: 74 Voices
, Wagner is also the German translator of several British and American poets, including James Tate, Matthew Sweeney, and Charles Simic. He is the recipient of the Mondsee Poetry Award, the Anna Seghers Award, the Ernst Meister Award for Poetry, the Mörike Preis, and the first Arno Reinfrank Award. He lives in Berlin.
is a poet and translator. His collections of poems include The Most Natural Thing, The Prayers of Others, The Clearing
, and The Rose Inside
. A fifth, Another City
, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His translations include Carsten René Nielsen’s World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors
and House Inspections
, a Lannan Translations Selection; his most recent translation is Jan Wagner’s The Art of Topiary
. Keplinger’s work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review
, and The Writer’s Almanac
, and has been translated and included in anthologies in China, Germany, Denmark, Northern Ireland, and elsewhere. The recipient of two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, Keplinger has received support from the Soros Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the D.C. Council on Arts and Humanities, and the Danish Council on the Arts. He has also received the T.S.. Eliot Award, the Colorado Book Award, the Cavafy Prize from Poetry International and The Erksine Poetry Prize from Smartish Place. Keplinger teaches at American University in Washington, DC.