VENTRAKL is a book that folds poetry, prose, biography and visual media into an experimental translation of 19th-century German Expressionist poet George Trakl. After drafting associative “translations” of several Trakl poems—with only the source language’s sound and graphic representation as a guide—Christian Hawkey uses this material to generate poems and interview-poems (conducted with Trakl himself). The book includes, and draws connections between, images from Trakl’s life, pre-industrial German landscapes and Hawkey’s own contemporary urban environment, as well as texts that meditate on the act of translation itself: what is shaped in the migration between languages, images, cultures and time-periods.
Christian Hawkey has written two full-length poetry collections: The Book of Funnels (Wave Books, 2005) and Citizen Of (Wave, 2007); four chapbooks: Hour Hour (Delirium Press, 2005), Petitions for an Alien Relative (Hand Held Editions, 2009), Ulf (Factory Hollow Press, 2010) and Sonette mit Elizabethanischem Maulwurf (hochroth verlag, 2010); and the cross-genre book Ventrakl (2010, Ugly Duckling Presse). Sonne from Ort is his new book, a collaborative bi-lingual erasure made with the German poet Uljana Wolf, which appeared in 2013 (Kookbooks Verlag, Berlin). In 2008 he was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow. He translates contemporary German poetry, as well as the late short prose of the Austrian writer Ilse Aichinger. His own work has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is an officer of the Office of Recuprative Strategies.