Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Wichita Eagle on the definitive Trakl.
Trakl has attracted his strongest following among philosophers. Wittgenstein admired him as a national enigma, underwriting the final two years of his sunburst career. Heidegger heralded him as the creator of a language that could “speak being,” thereby propelling him to the head of the metaphysics class. And in 1988, Robert Firmage, professor of philosophy at the University of Utah, expertly translated (and analyzed) a hefty sampling of Trakl’s poems for American audiences, trying to rescue the poet from his litany of should have beens. But that book, like the wounded soldiers at Grodek, bled away into oblivion. Now Copper Canyon Press has revived it, turning it into an indispensable volume, with an updated introduction by Firmage, a handful of freshly translated Trakl prose poems, and an afterword in which Firmage locks horns with Heidegger over Trakl the departed.
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