I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great
lips.
–SYLVIA PLATH
"The Colossus"


Parablue

1.

The ground stiffens under her feet
As the reek of cabbage bakes in the sun
Netted in the dog’s eyelashes, an insect,
A rodent’s leg in the dusty lane
Dried to bone, a tuft of fur.
A caterpillar, cradled in a cocoon,
Dangles like wind chimes
And sways, asleep

The dog takes the rabbit’s foot between its jaws, braces it like a stick
Clamping onto it – an offer she can’t refuse 

2.
A fox and hare
Have said good night. Little birds of prey perch
In half light. A child stumbles
In the trail of a moth, blind
To the scrap of hair and bone. Dark blue,
The evening spreads out over them. Paraplui
Says her mother: dark blue between the rain
And you. Parablue says the child as she plants
Umbrellas in idyll

 

Grand View Paliano

Crowns of trees pierce a veil that divides
The view over terraced ground, its edges smoothed
By mist in pastel and gray. Day climbs
Neatly over the hills as little owls
March home, left, left,

Synchronized step, left, right,
Left: the silence of cicadas. Nothing
Stirs in the ghost’s room. Someone sweeps
Sand from the yard, the yard consists only
Of sand, the bread only of yeast-bubbles.

Grass breathes out moisture, it’s
Already hot out. The first horses will be driven
Through the streets in celebration. Here
The esplanade reaches the horizon, and in the other
Direction, the munitions factory gorges itself

On the steel of armaments. At the train station,
The unemployed stand in front of their coffee-
Counters, forty-five percent is the quota here.
The younger ones still showoff unruffled feathers.
They, too, would prefer to produce grenades. 

 

Mansion

A fountain sinks into yellowed grass. No fence
Lines the property. Imagination tells me
there was once a stable. But the building’s far
Too small. And time can’t touch stone. 

The house evenly divides the distance
Between two villages. A toad. No sign of ivy,
No sign of dust on the outer walls
But in the windows, the sway 

Of curtains. Where the soul moves.
I want. I want this house. With its mesh of spider webs.
My mother grew up in this house, you say,
And I lift my eyes to the horizon. Your mother

And I. We couldn’t stand each other. 

 

After

Your face is an accident:
A cheek-bone fracture,
A tooth knocked clean out,
And you yourself were released pending a cure
They’ve lied about. It’ll leave a scar,
The doctor said, hushing up
The wound’s repeated reopening.    

Everyone wants to take a closer look
Until they hear what really happened:
That it was simply not an accident. 

First published by Weyward Sisters
The Creative Process is collaborating with the
Global Literature in Libraries Initiative
and
Weyward Sisters on global literary initiatives.

MY CREATIVE PROCESS
Can you tell us a little about the origins of these poems and why you wrote them?
My inspiration for these poems came from Sylvia Plath's The Colossus and Other Poems. I've read a biography on her and Ted Hughes and discovered that somehow I responded to her verses with an urge to write. So I bought The Colossus, read one poem a time, thought about it and then I wrote my own. It took me about 6 months to complete my project - one poem for each of Plath's. 44 to be exact (or 50, if you count "Poem for a Birthday" as seven separate ones.)

How did you come to literature? · When did you realize you were a writer?
I did come to literature through reading. I discovered how mighty words can be, how powerful a spell a book can cast on me. Reading is such an intimate thing! And writing is power. The stories we tell about our world can do anything from widen our readers' horizons to actually shape the world we live in. So writing also means responsibility.

Were you born into a family of writers or artists?
I was not born into a family of artists. My father sells computers and is a specialist in IT networks. My mother is a nurse. There have always been books in our house, and my parents and grandparents read stories to me. But I myself was so eager to learn to read! I managed to teach myself to read with the help of a school book. After that, there was no stopping me reading.

What other art forms and disciplines interest you? What makes literature distinct from all other art forms?
Literature happens right there in your head. There is no interference, it does not have to go through your eyes, your ears, the words form in your brain, and you just can't help it - you are involved. That's what makes literature special.

What are you working on now? What are your hopes/concerns for the future of literature?
I like to explore text adventures as a future form of great literature - they do not have to be mere "games", they can be real art, entangling the reader in a web of his of her own decisions. Currently, I am writing on different projects - from a YA novel to new poetry.

Cornelia Travnicek is an Austrian poet and novelist who studied Chinese Studies and Computer Science at the University of Vienna. She works part-time as a researcher in a Centre for Virtual Reality and Visualisation. Her literary works have won numerous awards including the Anerkennungspreis des Landes Niederösterreich, for her debut novel Chucks [Converse] (DVA, 2012), and the Kranichstein Youth Literature Grant awarded by the German Literature Fund. In 2012 she received the audience award at the Tagen der deutschsprachigen Literatur [Festival of German-Language Literature] in Klagenfurt for an extract from her novel Junge Hunde [Young Dogs]. Her publications also include various texts in newspapers, magazines and journals. Her novel Chuckswas filmed in 2015 as an Austrian production.

Translator

Meg Matich is a Reykjavik-based poet and Icelandic/German translator, and a current Fulbright grantee. Her translations have appeared in or are forthcoming from PEN America, Exchanges, Words Without Borders, Asymptote, The Best Icelandic Short Stories, Aarhus, and others. In 2015, she received the PEN Heim Translation Fund grant for her translation of Magnús Sigurðsson’s Cold Moons, which is forthcoming from Phoneme Media. She has received grants and fellowships from the DAAD, the Banff Centre, the Icelandic Literature Center, and Columbia University. She is currently assisting with the 2017 Reykjavik Literary Festival.