one of the most


Crauss: DRAGON OATHS. Selected Poems. Translated from the German to English by Mark Kanak, illustrated by Mirjam Elburn.
Moloko Print 2022, ISBN 987-3-948750-35-0
161 Seiten für 15,00 Euro zzgl. Versand beim Verlag oder im Crauss-Shop.

Over the course of the past twenty years or so, Crauss has been recognized as a true original voice in German poetry, a craftsman of the first order. The poet, whom I first met in 2013, exuded a quiet self-confidence from the outset, and over a wide range of unique publications has repeatedly demonstrated that nature in his work. His debut Crausstrophobie (2001), more than underscored that. Crauss is a writer that has retained a mixture of defiance and wit over the two decades that he has been an integral part of the German-language literary scene. […]
For some years, Crauss has operated in a realm that is outside the established camps of tradition and expermentation, simultaneously. If we consider what really drives his work, however, we can safely say that at the center of his poetics is the concept of beauty. Yet that being said, his lucid curiosity distinguishes his linguistic art strikingly from a kind of sentimental poetry that at once provides its own labeling and just exists in some two-dimensional space on the page. Crauss takes a completely different approach; his poems are conversations that he instigates within the lines themselves. […]
Crauss plays with language and tongues, with themes and images, so that ultimately, for all the intellectual fireworks going on, frankly, it is just really fun to read him. […]
The translation of these poems has proved a performative lesson that clarifies the difference between poetry that is the art of the feeling and that which involves work in the language. The meticulous attention to the language, indeed, a reverence for it, was just one aspect of working with Crauss that made the »work« a truly enjoyable experience. His work is a kind of beautiful interjection, a vein of gold in our dull lives, a grand mixture of simulated parlando and wise permutation. For Crauss’ poems live not only from their melancholy wit and sensuality: they also live from their tonal quality, from metre and melody, from rhythm and hidden rhymes. This gives the verses a lightness, also something playful, even whimsical. Like any great poet, Crauss’ poems benefit from repeated reading – sometimes it is only three or four of the short pieces that can be read one after the other, and immediately the space expands, an intensity of momentary perceptions arises, which gives some stanzas the character of an aphorism […]
Crauss’ publisher, Johannes Frank, has said of him: »With an acute eye for modern life and a unique structural depth, Crauss’ poetry manages to re-create in the best sense of the word: Crauss captures dynamics in such a manner as to reveal not only the flipside of a well worn coin, his poetry lets us imagine the possibility that coin may have a third side. His poetry modulates with ease between humor and delicacy, between irony and tenderness, intimacy and proclamation. Crauss’ poems blur the lines between poetic performance and performing poetics, and in this, he has been and continues to be one of the most influential contemporary German-language poets.« Over the course of the past several years I have had the opportunity, indeed, real pleasure, of closely collaborating with Crauss on the translation of his poems. The things that have always most impressed me are his sense of detail, of craftsmanship, of the understanding of his art – and indeed, his dedication to it as a calling.

—Mark Kanak, Translator, from the Foreword of DRAGON OATHS—