Image credit: Maddison Colvin, "Untitled (weeds)," mixed media

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market

implanted in sound
upended toward song

performed by the words
extolled in the clause

 

prechewed with style
onjabbered for content

 

resold with letters
offrhymed into book

 

 

 

recipe 1

first withwithed to totoed
as beforefored and offoffed
into pastasted

 

then awayawayed to therethered
he-she-itted
as if oneoned and upupped
into outouted atatted there

 

 

 

milk

impressed
in the neck of the jug
unpacked
a glug from the pocket
in the mouth
stands on
—plowed—
pasture grounds
way up calm
even when

 

getting her shots

 

the socalled:
cow
till happy as can be
the pull at the knot
points
as if tasting throat—
and stops
in the white-proof valley:
cream
skimmed
curdles to fat

 

thickened:

milk proves package, neck proves jug, pasture proves cow: grounds — pronounced with a full mouth — find one to be the cause of the other. the right word is enough, grabs luck by the forelock: no sooner said than done. but: up easy come down easy go. with one stroke the thickest liquid curdles to sour milk.

 

 

 

buff et
(mythologica)

the raw:
slowly
bemildewed
enmolded

 

the cooked:
quickly
perrotted
outburned

 

the stems:
always
hardboiled
stoverheard

 

the roots:
never
softbraised
peglegacied

 

 

 

preserves

soundoil
toneflesh
wordsugar
phrasefat

 

versesalt

 

timemilk
formbread
styliquid
matterrice
signiflour

 

 

 

cheese

holehearted
the

 

melting

 

as
goods
yellowed

 

thickened:
not only cheese, many goods have holes covered up by packaging. if they yellow in the heat of form, the contents, the goods, melt away.

 

 

 

courses

courserved
firstseconded
thirdinedout
cleared

 

 

 

cut lery

oncutleried
spooning the bill
offcutleried
forking the tune
outcutleried
knifing the butcher

 

 

 

recipe 2

when saltbuttered beerbattered
and winewatered

 

when meatsugared fishoiled
and flourpotted

 

then milksopped
and eggnogged

 

till riceartichoked



View Original Work ↓

markt

eingepflanzt im laut
umgestülpt zum klang

 

ausgeführt vom wort
angepreist am satz

 

vorgekaut durch stil
hingeschwätzt fürs ding

 

abverkauft mit stab
weggereimt ins buch

 

 

 

rezept 1

erst mitgemit um umgeumt
wie vorgevort und abgeabt
ins nachgenacht

 

dann fortgefort um hingehint
das diegedert
wie eingeeint und aufgeauft
ins ausgeaust da zugezut

 

 

 

milch

eingedrückt
im hals der flasche
ausgepackt
den schluck aus der tasche
des mundes
steht da
—umgepflügt—
auf der alm des grundes
ganz oben voll ruh' bei
der

 

spritzung

 

die sogesagt:
kuh;
bis vollbeglückt
der ruck hin zur lasche
deuten tut
als schmecke es schlund—
im tal des beweissens
innehält und:
schlag
abgespeckt
gerint zu fett

 

gebundenes:
milch beweist packung, hals beweist flasche, alm beweist kuh: gründe —ausgesprochen mit vollem mund— findet das eine als ursache des anderen. das richtige wort genügt, packt das glück am schopf: gesagt ist getan. aber: oben gewonnen, unten zerronnen. mit einem schlag gerinnt der dickste saft zur sauren milch.

 

 

bü fett
(mythologica)

das rohe:
langsam
aufverschimmelt
eingefault

 

das gekochte:
schnell
abverdorben
ausgebrannt

 

die stämme:
stets
hartgesotten
vorvernommen

 

die wurzeln:
nie
weichgedünstet
nachvermacht

 

 

 

konserve

klangöl
lautfleisch
wortzucker
satzfett

 

verssalz

 

zeitmilch
formbrot
stilwasser
stoffreis
sinnmehl

 

 

 

käse

lochgelaunt
die

 

schmelzung

 

als wahre
vergilbt

 

gebundenes:
nicht nur käse, viele waren haben löcher, die das packpapier überdeckt. vergilbt es, so schmilzt in der hitze der form der inhalt, das wahre, endlich dahin.

 

 

 

 

gänge

aufgegangen
erstverzweit

ausdrittgangen
abserviert

 

 

 

be steck

einbesteckt
löffelnd die ohren
aufbesteckt
gabelnd die ähren
umbesteckt
messe(r)nd das mass

 

 

 

rezept 2

wenn salzgebuttert bierumteigt
und weinverwasst

 

wen fleischgezuckert fischumölt
und mehlverbrot

 

dan milchzersuppt
und eizerpfefft

 

um reisverschluckt

Translator Notes

Ferdinand Schmatz (born 1953) is an Austrian experimental poet, aesthetically an heir of the Vienna Group (Friedrich Achleitner, H.C.Artmann, Konrad Bayer, Gerhard Rühm, and the somewhat younger Ernst Jandl and Friederike Mayröcker). His work, like theirs, is playful and much concerned with linguistic structures, very much in the language. In food poems, he works out a "poetics of the mouth" that stresses the physicality of the word. He revels in ambiguous words and puns (all of whose senses, variants, overtones he develops). He loves idioms and popular sayings as well as exploring grammatical structures.

For instance, "recipe 1:" German forms the past participle with the prefix ge- and ending -t added to the stem of the verb. Schmatz applies this to prepositions and has them appear, as it were, in the present and perfect tense ( e.g. mitgemit,  umgeumt). I tried out what the grammatically corresponding "-ed" ending would yield in English.

"market" plays with prefixes, which made me choose "upended" rather than the more literal "turned inside out," "extolled" rather than "praised," etc. I also tried to keep the five-syllable line, but didn't quite manage.

markt

eingepflanzt im laut
umgestülpt zum klang

ausgeführt vom wort
angepreist am satz

vorgekaut durch stil
hingeschwätzt fürs ding

abverkauft mit stab
weggereimt ins buch

The end words stab [rod] and buch [book] are the components of Buchstab=letter (the alphabetical one). And the last line's reim in weggereimt [literally rhymed away] combines with stab to Stabreim, German for alliteration!
Admitting defeat in many places, I punned in English where I could and sometimes was rewarded, e.g. when sinnmehl turned almost by itself into "signiflour."

It is clear that the formal patterns have to be given priority when attempting to translate these poems, but I tried to keep as close to the semantic level as I could, certainly staying within the semantic field of food. Sometimes I needed two words for what Schmatz did by adding one letter! The "white-proof valley" in "milk" is tal des beweissens. Beweisen= to prove, but the second s brings in weiss=white, so that the valley is also one of whitening.

Most of the poems in speise gedichte cannot be translated, but it's tempting to try the impossible, and even failing illuminates that curious space between two languages.

Rosmarie Waldrop


Rosmarie Waldrop

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