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This report is taken from PN Review 45, Volume 12 Number 1, September - October 1985.

Letter from Germany Iain Galbraith
In a recent radio retrospective on poetry publications during 1984, the poet and critic Michael Krüger painted a bleak picture of the state of poetry translation into German. Krüger is perhaps especially well-known in Germany as the editor of the literary magazine Akzente. Under Krüger's editorship, the magazine has devoted considerable space to in-depth profiles of non-German writers whose work is either untranslated, out of print or forgotten. Akzente has probably done more for the translation of modern and contemporary poetry into German in recent years than any other magazine, and Michael Krüger is tireless in his reviewing in the press of editions of poetry in translation which might otherwise go unnoticed. So when we hear him bitterly complain that in comparison to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, poetry in translation has been forced out into 'a merely marginal position', and then point to a 'diminishing interest' in international poetry and in poetry translation altogether, one tends to think there is perhaps more to what he is saying than the sensationalist rhetoric which many radio critics have to adopt in order to be heard. International poetry (by this he means poetry seen in an international context - the word 'foreign' would be inappropriate), according to Krüger, has become a thing for specialists only, 'samizdat' in a land supersaturated by media. This trend, he says, is at least partly evident in the fact that only small presses are now prepared to publish poetry in translation, an act of defiance often made at ...


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