Translated from the German by Michael Hamburger
120 pages / paperback / $17.00
120 pages / hardcover / $30.00
Nelly Sachs’ book-length poem Glowing Enigmas is widely regarded as the Nobel Laureate’s finest poetic achievement and one of the essential poetic works of postwar Europe. This definitive edition is the first in English to showcase the poem in its entirety. Michael Hamburger’s incomparable translation captures the deep sadness, lyrical mystery, and transcendent opacity at the heart of Sachs’ haunting masterpiece.
Nelly Sachs, winner of the 1966 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in Berlin on December 10, 1891. She fled the Nazis on May 16, 1940, and took refuge in Sweden, where she was granted asylum. Her career as a poet started only after her emigration, when she was nearly fifty years old. Despite her relatively short writing career and constant struggles with mental illness, Sachs’ body of poetry is one of the essential artistic testimonies of the twentieth century. She died in Sweden on May 12, 1970.
"The oeuvre of Nelly Sachs is great and mysterious . . . The poems [are] hard, but transparent. They do not dissolve in the weak solution of interpretations . . . With Nelly Sachs the difficulty is never of a technical nature; she neither means to be calculating nor to shock; her poetry is neither a secret code nor a picture puzzle: what we are dealing with here are enigmas that do not add up when they are solved, but still retain an enigmatic aspect—and that aspect is what matters."
— Hans Magnus Enzensberger