Thick of It (Paperback)
Shortlisted for the 2019 Schlegel-Tieck Prize.
The poems of Ulrike Almut Sandig are at once simple and fantastic. This new collection finds her on her way to imaginary territories. Thick of It charts a journey through two hemispheres to ‘the center of the world’ and navigates a ‘thicket’ that is at once the world, the psyche, and language itself. The poems explore an urgently urban reality, but that reality is interwoven with references to nightmares, the Bible, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes—all overlaid with a finely tuned longing for a disappearing world. The old names are forgotten, identities fall away; things disappear from the kitchen; everything is sliding away. Powerful themes emerge, but always mapped onto the local, the fractured individual in ‘the thick of it’ all. This is language at its most crafted and transformative, blisteringly contemporary, but with a kind of austerity, too. By turns comic, ironic, skeptical, nostalgic, these poems are also profoundly musical, exploiting multiple meanings and stretching syntax, so that the audience is constantly kept guessing, surprised by the next turn in the line.
‘The world evoked in Thick of It is one that expands with every return visit. Translator Karen Leeder’s enthusiasm for Sandig’s creative and performative energy is palpable—it comes through the more one reads across this collection, moving with and against its currents.’—J. M. Schreiber, roughghosts. Read the full review here.
‘People who are looking to read poetry that will cause them to really sit down and think about the world and their place in it, looking to take a deep dive into the psyche and come out at the other end, may just find that Thick of It is exactly the book they need.’—Talia Franks, Three Percent. Read the full review here.
‘Sandig, not yet 40 years old, was born in the former GDR and uses the complete dissolution of her birthplace as one of the layers of identity that slip and slide in making up a modern German—or, indeed, modern Germany. . . . Highly recommend.’—Lit Hub
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