TIGblogs TIG | TIGblogs GROUP TIGBLOGS LOGIN SIGNUP
Satis Shroff's CATMANDU CHRONICLES
Satis Shroff's CATMANDU CHRONICLES
« previous 5 next 5 »


Liederkranz: A Wreath of Songs (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)
Related to country: Germany


LIEDERKRANZ: A Wreath of Songs (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

A burly, baldy waiter shuffled by with a tray full of beer bottles and wine glasses for the delight of the guests at the festival hall in Freiburg-Kappel. Elderly members of the men’s choir called Liederkranz, which in English means a ‘wreath of songs’ and their elegantly dressed spouses were also there, short grey-hair neatly cut, wearing conservative jackets, gold necklaces and smiles, instead of frowns. After all, they were out to have a pleasant time and listen to their spouses singing songs from olde Germany.

We come across many folk songs (Volkslieder) that have been handed down verbally through the generations, and whose original composers are unknown, from the 16th century onwards. Lieder have been mostly written by German poets. The folk songs have undergone a lot of adaptations with the passage of time. A hymn, for instance, is a sacral song used in the church and among the Hindus in India and Nepal the sacral songs have their origin in the vedic scriptures. In Germany we have a rich tradition of the soldier’s song (Soldatenlieder), the marching songs (Marschlieder), student songs (Studentenlieder), drinking songs (Trinklieder), love songs (Liebeslieder) and the wanderer’s song (Wanderlieder) to name a few.

In the German language the word ‘Lied’ also denotes poetry, for instance Schiller’s Lied von der Glocke (Song of the Bell) and a vocalised form for example Gustav Mahler’s Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) which is based on six poems from The Chinese Flute by Hans Bethge.

A kiddy band played ‘Raindrops falling on my Head.’ Music without words. It was interesting to know that a lot of work is being done to motivate the youth in Kappel and get them busy with music and songs lest they become idle and loiter around. What is interesting is that a lot of German Moms and Dads take an active interest in the development of their children and make sure that the home-works are done and that the children have enough to do in their spare time by making them take part in music lessons, riding, soccer, fire-brigade, swimming lessons, karate and other activities. Unlike in Sweden, where the teachers take over the discipline pedagogy and parents don’t have to do or help their children with home-works, in Germany the educators expect the parents to help with the lessons. So if you have a migrant family with parents who are good in Arabic, Turkish or other language but not in German, it is pre-programmed that the child won’t make much headway at school and will end up as a hair-cutter, car-mechanic, doing the laundry of others or cleaning the floors of German hospitals. Extra tuition means investing extra money.

The children’s band played Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight serenade’ a wonderful song and melody for a fox-trot. Ah, what associations a melody conjours. You remember the university dances, gliding gracefully with your beautiful partner in tact with the music. When I hear Frank Sinatra’s version of ‘New York, New York’ I’m transported to an evening at the Piazza San Marco where I did a fox-trot with a charming masked lady who spoke German. You can’t help tethering a melody or song to a landscape or a person from your past, can you?

We began the evening with Manfred Bühler’s ‘Jubilate’ a great song to wake up the people, who might be already be lethargic due to a sumptuous dinner. The next song or Lied was ‘Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen’ composed by Michael Praetorius. We’d scrapped ‘Adeste fideles’ in lieu of ‘Adiemus’ composed by Karl Jenkins and sang it for the first time. I like the crescendo in the part ‘Anamana coole rawe…’You can experience this great feeling and notice your blood pressure going up, the released hormones surging in your blood stream. Ah, music knows no bounds. The audience goes with you as you transcend to new heights in the course of the Liederabend.

Our next song was ‘La le lu’ composed by Heino Gaze, which is actually a lullaby for the young and old. It is an evergreen in the German-speaking world of South Tyrol, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and you hear it quite a few times. By this time we had the smiling and applauding audience on our side. After that we chose to sing a song made popular by Reinhard May ‘Über den Wolken’, which means ‘Above the Clouds.’ The song gives you the Top Gun feeling with the sound of the jet starting, accelerating and taking off. The wind is blowing from the north-east and you’re on your starting tarmac 03, the jet shoots past leaving a thundering sound in your ears, the wet asphalt vibrates, the rain is like a veil, till your jet leaves the airstrip and heads for the skies. This song is a hit among the pilots of the Lufthansa and the Luftwaffe and, of course, among aviation fans.

After Reinhard Mey’s Lied we were unanimous and sang ‘I will follow him’ composed by J.W. Stole. We sang it with gusto in a very Badische German accent. It sounded like: I ‘laff’ him. Whoopie Goldberg would have got a kick out of it with her ‘Sister Act.’

We finished off the evening with a creamy song composed by the popular Austrian Udo Jürgens ‘Aber bitte mit Sahne.’ We had the otherwise conservative Kappeler audience raving with this song. The brass orchestra of the Musikverein Freiburg-Kappel then took over under the conductor of Manfred Preiss, a stiff, balded guy with a good command of his charges and in the initial phase he marched off with a Lied composed by John Williams ‘Concert March from 1941,’ followed by Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia Op.26, No.7, then Three Celtic Dances (Reel, Air, Jig) .It was wonderful music with excellent changes in rhythm and texture. The next was slections from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Jerry Bock’s ‘Anateva’ followed by Sven van Calster’s ‘Via Aurelia.’ In this music you could literally see and hear the sounds of horses cantering along the Italian countryside. The last song was Willy Fransen’s ‘Adios Havana’ with catchy a composition from Cuba that ended with a hot samba rhythm.

It’s always pleasant to fraternise with the locals from Kappel and the surrounding areas of Littenweiler, Buchenback, Stegen and the Dreisam Valley. You get to know a lot of people gradually. The Kappeler are a friendly people o speak the Badische dialect and that’s why they call me ‘Sadisch’ which I find rather symbadisch, which means sympathetic. Kappel has pleasant Black Forest surroundings where the brass-band plays the Heimat music, and the people from the local apothecary, bakery, the green grocery, the butchery, the locals who runs the taverns and inns with names like ‘Schutze’ and ‘the Lion’ and ‘Kreuz’ all come to have a drink or a chat in the Festhalle where events are staged.

The singers of the men’s choir Männergesangverein ‘Liederkranz’ Freiburg-Kappel (MGV) were still sitting erect in their chairs with their comrades or spouses. There were candles flickering on the tables with coloured metallic balls and pine leaves heralding that it was Christmastime. There were people drinking apple or orange juices, sekt, beer, mineral water. Some were relishing their wurst, hot dogs with buns but all eyes were fixed towards the stage. The Männergesangsverein (MGV) bade farewell to its young conductor Felix Rosskopp who has decided to live in Offenburg where he’ll be working as a music teacher, and he received a picture book about lovely Kappel, an envelope with money and a painting of Kappel. He seemed delighted, and I couldn’t help adding that it had been a pleasure to sing under his guidance He’d brought his fiancee with him, a decent brunette who also liked music and aired her views.

Welcome to the Schwarzwald, the fair town of Kappel and the Männergesangsverein (MGV).

About the Author:

Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. http://www.zfs.uni-freiburg.de/zfs/dozent/lehrbeauftragte4/index_html/#shroff. He is a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author of five books: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff), and two language books on the Nepalese language for DSE (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst) & Horlemannverlag. He has written three feature articles in the Munich-based Nelles Verlag’s ‘Nepal’ on the Himalayan Kingdom’s Gurkhas, sacred mountains and Nepalese symbols and on Hinduism in ‘Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India) and his poem ‘Mental Molotovs’ was published in epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications (University of Freiburg, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.


Copyright © 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author's note, and the active hyperlinks.



January 8, 2010 | 9:51 AM Comments  {num} comments



War & Peace in Afghanistan
Related to country: Afghanistan


HAUNTING HINDUKUSH (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

The King Who Was Expelled (Satis Shroff)

King Amanullah returned
Ecstatic,
From a tour to Europe
And the Near East.
He ordered the modernization
Of Afghanistan,
Along the lines
Of Kemal in Turkey.
His majesty said:
'I want monogamy,
European clothing,
Abolition of women's veils.'
The people rejoiced
In the streets of Kabul.
The Mullahs revolted.
The king was expelled.
That was 1928.

* * *
They Shot the King (Satis Shroff)

General Nadir Shah
Became the King of Afghanistan,
With a little help,
From his British friends.
He brought reforms.
They shot him in 1933.

* * *
Pakhtunistan Dreams (Satis Shroff)

Mohammed Zahir became
The next king of Afghanistan.
'I have a dream
Of a Pakhtunistan,
A bigger country which can rule
The Pathans in Western Pakistan.
To the west of the river Indus.'
The Pakistanis weren't amused,
And politely refused it.

* * *

THE HINDUKUSH (Satis Shroff)

It's Volkstrauertag
Death through war,
Gewaltherrschaft,
Go through your mind.
It's 2009,
Peace at last?

The victims of wars,
Memorials with mourning choirs,
Weeping war widows, orphans,
Wreaths and flowers for the dead.
The fire brigade stands at attention.
Uniforms,
Stiff humans
With eyes moving,
To take in the mourning.
In Freiburg-Kappel we sing
A Russian song,
To remember
The sons and husbands of Freiburg-Kappel
Who didn't return.

Ninety years ago,
The Constitution of Weimar.
Germany's Fundamental Laws,
Proclaimed sixty years ago.
The ugly Berlin wall
Fell twenty years ago.
The Second World War,
Began seventy years ago.

Alas, young Teutonic widows
Still cry today
In Germany,
For young husbands
Who died
And still die,
In the killing fields
Of the Hindukush,

There's a war
In far off Afghanistan.
The grandfather died
For a totalitarian regime.
The grandson dies today
For a democratic idea.

We Germans train the police
In the Hindukush.
What happens when they run
Over to the Talibans?
Islam binds the people
In the Hindukush.
What have we to offer?

Is war capitulation,
Against the forces of evil?
People who are beaten, tortured
When their ethnicity
And genes differ,
When people with illness or disability,
Are meted injustice,
Stamped as 'unworthy of life.'
There are those who faced
A firing squad,
When they defied
The rule of power,
Clutched to their beliefs,
Their pure conscience.

You can't change the past.
What has happened,
Has happened.
Don't close your eyes
To the hoary past,
Lest you be blind
To the present,
And the future.

It's not the Third World,
Where ideologies,
Fundamentalists,
Terror
Find their breeding grounds.
Rightist ideology
Is still mushrooming,
In the streets of Berlin,
Vienna and Bern.
The 'others' are still
Being terrorized,
Beaten, stabbed and kicked
In broad daylight.

Freedom and forgiveness,
Within and without,
Where art thou?
He who searches
Finds hope,
Tolerance,
Empathy
And dignity,
For there are enough
Righteous, honest,
Spiritual people with integrity
Who care about others.

* * *

TWITTERS FROM THE BLACK FOREST (Satis Shroff)

The Talibans have persuaded
The Pathans, Pashtoons,
And other warring tribes,
To ignore their differences,
And unite to fight the infidels
From the West.
US citizens say:
'America can't afford
Obama's Afghan war.
Hey Big Spender, Obama,
Thirty-five billion dollars
To blow up.
Don't Americans
Need the money
Back home?

* * *
I'll Bring You Back (Satis Shroff)

The faces of the rookie cadets
At Westpoint
Look tired.
'30 000 only' says Obama,
'Till May 2010,
And I'll bring you back.'
The question is:
In a coffin
Or as a hero?

***
Understanding Afghanistan (Satis Shroff)
What happens
When Obama, Merkel
And the Nato have left Kabul?
It wasn't America's war anyway.
Is it the Nato's future war?
Bin Laden's at large.
The enemy is invisible.
Airstrikes kill
Only women and children.
Do we really understand
Afghanistan?
Or is it only
Our thought
Of what Afghanistan
Ought to be.

* * *
Under the Shadow of the Hindukush (Satis Shroff)

John Mc Cain wishes
To break the will
Of the Talibans.
That's how wars are won,
From the Westpoint view
If you announce
When the troops will leave,
The Talis will just wait
And drink Darjeeling tea
Under the shadow
Of the Hindukush.

* * *
No Soldiers, Please (Satis Shroff)

Germany's Guido Westerwelle,
Praised the decision to withdraw
From the Hindukush.
'Police officers for Afghans
Is okay,'
Says Birgit Homburger FDP,
'But no soldiers, please.'

* * *
Party Crashing In the White House (Satis Shroff)

You mean you can
Party crash
Right up to Obama
In the White House?
Mark Sullivan and his men
Were blended
By a charming blonde
Socialite.

To me
It was like in Bonn,
Where an elderly German lady,
Dressed up like a Baroness,
Cut an excellent figure,
Till the chief of the Bonner police
Confided to me,
She was a commoner,
A pensioned lady,
Out for a tete´-a-tete´
With King Birendra
Of Nepal.

Where there's a will
There seems to be
A way.


Ach, Helvetia you've Done it Again (Satis Shroff)

The Bairam celebrations
Are long over,
And Helvetia has caught
The Islamic world
By surprise.

The Swiss folk have dismissed
The minaret 'missile' issue.
Building churches are still forbidden
In many Muslim countries.
The Catholic Swiss have spoken
And won the day.
If more countries would listen to
And respect their own folk.
Ach, Helvetia,
You've done it again.

* * *
The Word of the Year (Satis Shroff)

Härtzen is the word of the year
In good olde Germany.
It means:
To be jobless,
Hanging around,
Loitering
Without much money
In your purse.
It comes from Hartz Four,
A program
For the jobless
And the poor.

But if a blonde German girl says:
'You're bam,'
Take it easy.
It means you're cool.

In case you're a banker
And someone calls you a 'Bankster,'
It isn't a compliment.
It implies
The speculative bank business
You've been doing.
A banker
Who's a gangster.
























December 29, 2009 | 11:45 AM Comments  {num} comments



ZEITGEISTLYRIK (Satis Shroff)
Related to country: India


MOON OVER THE ARABIAN SEA (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

Surrounded by the greyish clouds,
I see a full moon
Glowing in the Prussian blue sky.
I walk to the Gateway of India,
Look beyond,
Where the breakers
Thrash against Mumbai’s shore.

Waves from the Arabian Sea,
That have brought pirates,
Islamic invaders,
Warships of colonial powers
From foreign shores.
Goa, Pondicherry,
Calcutta,
Become household words,
In Portugal, France and Britain.

A warm reassuring breeze
Whispers by.
Gandhi’s dreams have come true,
The British have come true,
The British, French and Portugese
Have left the shores
Of Hindustan.
Tourists now spend their money
On sightseeing:
Corpses smouldering
At the ghats,
Candlelight dinners
In Rajput palaces,
Armies of beggars
Along the footpaths,
Slumdogs
Who won’t be millionaires.

The rich dream of more dollars,
At the cost of construction workers,
Underpaid and exploited.
The poor dalits cling
To their dreams at night,
For dreams are not forbidden
And are as free,
As the bad air you breathe.

In my thoughts,
A heavenly Apsara appears,
Dances and sings,
Her heavenly song.

My reverie is broken
By the hooting
Of a white ocean liner,
Streaking above
The ripples of the sea.

* * *

THE POETRY OF EXISTENCE (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

What a boon,
A peaceful day
Without human cries,
Pent up emotions,
Banging doors,
Crashing cutlery,
Loud stereo songs,
Intrusive MP3s
Belting out Sido,
Bushido, 50 Cent.

A tranquil day
Means a lot to humans.
To immerse oneself
In a book,
Is to take time
From the bustle
Of everyday life.
Even though it’s
Another person’s life
You read about.

Is the hero courageous,
Or is he cowardly?
Does he tell lies
Or is he loyal?
Does he carry a weapon
Like Ian Flemming’s hero?
Or are words his weapon?

Time flies:
A stack of dishes to clean,
There’s dust on the floor,
A meal to cook.
What did you say?
Time and tide,
Waits for no one.

* * *

THE JOY OF DANCING (Satis Shroff)

The first strokes of the music
And your brain tells you
What dance it belongs to.

You’re already underway,
With your beautiful partner,
Even before the others awake,
On the dance floor,
Gliding gently in tact.
That’s creativity for you.

The more you dance
The more you enjoy.
You know there are people around you,
In evening gowns and dinner jackets,
Sipping their champagne,
Sekt or red wine.

Nodding,
Doing minimal gyrations,
Smiling and feeling good,
Between morsels of caviar.

As the evening advances,
You feel ecstatic,
In your mind
You’re doing fine.

Ah, there’s epinephrine
Surging in your blood.
Your heart is beating faster,
Your legwork is not bad,
You smile at your partner,
Isn’t life delightful?

* * *

A Handkerchief (Satis Shroff)

What is a handkerchief,
But a piece of cloth,
Meant to wipe
A weeping widow’s tears,
Or the fluid from the nose,
When you’ve caught the cold.

A handkerchief can mean,
The loneliness of humans,
At the face of loss,
In cafes, Bahnhofs,
Airports and bus-stations,
Operas, theatres,
Cinemas and plays
Of this worldly stage.

A handkerchief
Brings people together,
Empathy emanates
Between strangers.
We show we are humans,
With emotions
And not zombies.

Sometimes,
Even in public
We tremble,
Tears roll down
Our cheeks,
As we try to keep
A stiff upper lip.



About the Author: Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. He is the published author of three books on www.Lulu.com: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelgue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. Satis Shroff is a member of “Writers of Peace”, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer. Satis Shroff is a poet and writer based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) who also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Akademie für medizinische Berufe (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Zentrum für Schlüsselqualifikationen (University of Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

© 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author's note, and the active hyperlinks.

December 17, 2009 | 11:24 AM Comments  {num} comments

Tags:


Swiss Literary Prize 2009 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)
Related to country: Switzerland


Creative Writing Critique Swiss Book Prize 2009(Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

MEHR MEER

A translator and essayist
Born in 1946 in Slovakia,
Grew up in Switzerland,
Living in Zürich,
Won the Swiss Buch.09 award
And 50,000 Swiss Franks.

The jury was delighted
With her ‘Mehr Meer,’
Written with a pen
Dipped in beauty
That fills the world
With poetry.

With her More Seas,
She sailed past Peter Stamm
With his novel Seven Years,
Shortlisted contemporaries:
Eleonore Frey, Jürg Laederach,
Angelika Overath and Urs Widmer.

A tale about memories
Of a daughter,
Of Hungarian
And Slovenian descent,
With sojourns in Budapest,
Ljublijana, Triest, Zürich,
Leningrad and Paris.
The poetess of this passage
Of memories
Is Ilma Rakussa,
A sincere lady with a haircut,
Akin to Prince Valiant,
With a soft voice.

The atmosphere was sticky,
The visitors stiff,
Perspiring in their garments
At the Basler Erlenmatten Street.
What a pleasant surprise:
Buch.09 is going
Buch Basel again.

* * *



Creative Writing Critique: THE SWISS BOOK PRIZE 2008 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

Books galore at Basle 08. An author named Wolfang Bortlik went even so far as to say,
“books have now ( after the fixed price went down) the same character as commodities like socks and toothpaste.” Thereby implying that touching a book is like touching any other ware. It’s not a sacral but a profane object of delight. Which reminds me of the publisher who started reading a manuscript, then went to change his clothes and came out wearing a dark suit and a bow-tie to show reverence towards the would-be author. The book was a classic. ‘Education,’ said Dr. John G. Hibben, a one-time President of Princeton University,‘is the ability to meet life’s situations.’ He could have added the word ‘aqequately.’

‘What’s the difference between BookBasle and Book 08?’ you might ask. BookBasle is a thing of the past and was more or less a well-organised Fair. But Book 08 has new ambients, and for the first time Switzerland has created a Swiss Book Award for established and aspiring writers of this ravishingly beautiful Alpine Republic. I went to Morschach in Central Switzerland during the Summer holidays and thought I was already in Heaven, you know. Alone in 2007, 110 organisers and 152 participating publishing houses (small and big) were interested in Book 08. Now it’s over 400 publisher-stalls and rather international. ‘International’ in the Swiss context means, of course, publishers from big German and Austrian cities like: Munich, Frankfurt upon Main (not Frankfurt upon Oder), Berlin and Vienna. Lübbe is a good name, for instance, with Dan Brown’s ‘Sacrilege’ and others. If you prefer listening rather than talking or reading, there are author forums where the authors read from their latest books.

Now the question: who’s gonna read at Basle 08? I find Friday 14,2008 rather interesting not only because Cornelia Schinzzilarz, Adam Davies, Slavenka Draklic and György Dragoman will be reading and answering questions, but also this year’s Man Booker Prize recipient Aravind Adiga with ‘The White Tiger’ (German title ‘Der Weisse Tiger’ published by C.H. Beck, 2008. Aravind works as a correspondent for the newsmag Time and The Financial Times. He was born in 1974 and the protagonist of his first novel is Balram Halwai, (I love halwa from Mumbai, you know) who tells his story in the first person singular. Halwa has a fantastic charisma and shows you how you can climb the Indian mainstream ladder as a philosopher and entrepreneur---and ends as a murderer. You’ve probably read ‘Goodbye Lenin,’ dear reader. This time it’s ‘Goodbye Lemon,’ a touching novel with dark humour about memories, mourning and forgiveness written by Adam Davies.

In this fast-living, egoistic consumer society, relationships tend to be fragile. It’s often touch and go. A series of wrong words and the partner looks for and finds another. The Swiss journalist Karin-Dietl-Wichmann knows what she’s talking writing about in her ‘Lass dich endlich scheiden,’ (published by Heyne 2008) which means ‘File a divorce for Heaven’s Sake.’ She was married thrice and knows how to go about it and admonishes women, without batting an eye-lid, to evaluate their marriages and shows that there’s no reason to uphold a partnership where there’s no fundament.

‘Leben Spenden’ published by Zsolnay, 2008, which means ‘Donate Life’ is a book by one of the most well-known Croatian authors: Slavenka Drakulic. She had to go to the USA in September 2004 to get a kidney-transplantation. It wasn’t her first, you know.

‘Der weisse König’ which means ‘The White King’ is György Dragoman’s second novel. The first one was ‘The Book of Destruction’ with the German title ‘Das Buch der Zerstörung’ which received a literary prize. The current book is being translated at the moment into fifteen languages. Dragoman was born in 1973 in the Seven-Hills of Romania (Siebenbürgen) and lives since 1988 in Budapest. His books have been published by Suhrkamp, a German publishing house.

At last year’s BuchBasel Fair you could find strange books like: Das Kifferlexikon, a compact encyclopedia on Cannabis sativa (hash) and others books like ‘Das Joint Drehbuch’ with a pun on the verb ‘drehen’ and even a cooking book with the title ‘Das Rauschkochbuch.’ Thomas Kessler, an author from Basle, has even written a book with the title ‘Hanf in der Schweiz.’ At the moment Kessler is responsible for the Integration of Migrants at the Canton-Basle City. Another interesting character at the past BookBasel was Tom Kummer, a journalist, who’d written interviews with Hollywood stars. The problem was he’d met them only in his mind. Herr Kummer had an explanation: he said he was representing Borderline-Journalism in which reality is consciously mixed with fantasy. His incredible book? ‘Blow Up: The Story of My Life’. I personally think he made a hash of the genres. I’ve heard about borderline medical cases during my medical and social science studies, but this really beats it. A wonderful example for students of Creative Writing classes how not to create and stir fiction with non-fiction. If you do, then please declare your ingredient as fiction and you’re on the safe side.

Can a book, film or PC game have the same negative effect on small readers? There have been discussions about the Grimm Brothers and their Fairy Tales which are said to be ‘too brutal at times.’ I had a talk with a bespectacled, elderly Freiburger European ethnologist, Frau Schaufelberger, who lectures on the subject and she said, “No, I think that it’s good to have bad or scary tales also, otherwise we’ll be giving a wrong picture about real life to the children.” Compared to what the kiddies watch in TV and DVDs, the Grimm and other Fairy Tales around the world are tame, not-so-scary and have educational values for they uphold values and norms of the concerned societies and their cultures.

So who’s going to win the Swiss Book Prize 2008? There are five favourites. Lukas Bärfuss, Rolf Lappert, Adolf Muschg, Peter Stamm and Anja Jardine. It’s evident that the Swiss ladies are underrepresented in the alpine literary world. The Swiss Book Prize involves a matter of 50,000 Swiss Franks (the German Book Prize offers 25,000 Euros) and the four losers will go home with 2,500 Swiss Franks in their pockets, which is indeed a great discrepancy compared to the first prize. Well loser can’t be choosers, oder? But one thing is sure: all five authors will cash in on publicity, honour, privilege and special presentations at other diverse Book Fairs.

Anja Jardine, is a newcomer and her book carries the title ‘Als der Mond vom Himmel fiel’ which in English means ‘When the Moon fell from the Sky’ published by Klein & Aber, Zürich.). Lukas Bärfuss has written an explosive political book on Ruanda ‘Hundert Tage’ published by Wallstein, Göttingen. Author Adolf Muschg is already prominent and is known for his minimal writings that have maximum effect. His book has the title ‘Kinderhochzeit,’ a love story and a portrait of a family based in the Upper Rhine, published by Suhrkamp, Frankfurt. Peter Stamm is billed as a typical Swiss author with his normal tales about everyday life and his book ‘Wir fliegen’ has been published by S. Fischer, Frankfurt. Rolf Lappert has penned a major novel based in Ireland among other places, and he combines great story-telling with experimental makings. His book ‘Nach Hause schwimmen’ has been published by Carl Hanser, Munich. Lappert was nominated for the German Book Prize but didn’t make it. He’s 50 and lives in Ireland. Perhaps he’ll swim home to win the Swiss Prize. I wish him luck. This year’s German Book Prize winner is Uwe Tellkamp, a sympathetic fellow who also lives in Freiburg, like Yours Truly, and will also read from his prize-winning book ‘Der Turm’ which means ‘The Tower.’

Unlike the jury decisions of the Man Booker Prize in UK, the Swiss Jury has a Swiss yardstick called quality. The prize will be announced on November 15,2008 at the Book 08 in Basle.

The five critic in the jury are: Martin Ebel from the Tages-Anzeiger, Sandra Leis from Der Bund, Manfred Papst from the excellent NZZ am Sonntag, Hans Probst from Radio DRSZ and the free-lance critic Martin Zingg. Switzerland is small and everyone knows the other, and whether the literary prize will be renowned or not will naturally depend on the reputation of the jury and its sense and idea of excellence, curiosity and independence in decision-making and choosing a winner. Swiss TV will carry out the entire spectacle, of course, because it has to be a big event. To borrow a line from P. B. Shelley: if November comes, can the Christmas book-business be far behind?

Grüezi! Hope to see you there.

* * * *


About the Author:

Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. http://www.zfs.uni-freiburg.de/zfs/dozent/lehrbeauftragte4/index_html/#shroff. He is a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author of five books: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff), and two language books on the Nepalese language for DSE (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst) & Horlemannverlag. He has written three feature articles in the Munich-based Nelles Verlag’s ‘Nepal’ on the Himalayan Kingdom’s Gurkhas, sacred mountains and Nepalese symbols and on Hinduism in ‘Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India) and his poem ‘Mental Molotovs’ was published in epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (HAS, GKKPS, GKPS,OTA University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications (University of Freiburg, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

What others have said about the author:

Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa).
‘Satis Shroff writes political poetry, about the war in Nepal, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany. His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. I writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing thus is also a very important one in political terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.’ (Sandra Sigel, Writer, Germany).
'Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earth’s surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.' Reviewed by Heide Poudel in WritersDen.com 6/4/2007.
'The manner in which Satis Shroff writes takes the reader right along with him. Extremely vivid and just enough and the irony of the music. Beautiful prosaic thought and astounding writing.
'Your muscles flex, the nerves flatter, the heart gallops,
As you feel how puny you are,
Among all those incessant and powerful waves.'
“Satis Shroff's writing is refined – pure undistilled.” (Susan Marie, www.Gather.com)
“I was extremely delighted with Satis Shroff’s work. Many people write poetry for years and never obtain the level of artistry that is present in his work. He is an elite poet with an undying passion for poetry.” Nigel Hillary, Publisher, Poetry Division - Noble House U.K.

Copyright © 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author's note, and the active hyperlinks.
























November 21, 2009 | 3:22 PM Comments  {num} comments



Poetry
Related to country: Romania

Translations available in: English (original) | French | Spanish | Italian | German | Portuguese | Swedish | Russian | Dutch | Arabic

Zeitgeistlyrik: Literature Nobel Prize Herta Müller 2009:

UPROOTED & BANISHED (Satis Shroff)

A Banat Swabian poetess
Was born in 1953
In a hamlet called Nitzkydorf,
Which lies in Romania.

She came to Berlin in 1987.
Wrote verses to mete out justice
To the fate of German Romanians,
Who were departed to work camps.
The other way round.

Jews died in concentration camps,
80,000 ethnic Germans from Romania,
Uprooted and banished,
Suffered hunger and death
In the Ukranian camps.
Survival strategies and dreams
At the end of the Second World War.

If Bertold Brecht’s Furcht und Elend
Im Dritten Reich
Told us about the Nazi terror,
Hertha’s verses and prose reveal
The sadness and angst of her lost people.

In a small hamlet in Banat,
Small Herta tells us
In her hard, Banat-German accent,
How hostile her home environment was.
She speaks of her doubts and fears,
For it is plain to see:
She’s made of another genetic material
That made her vulnerable to her environs,
Like underdogs everywhere in this world.

How unbearable for Romanians,
The Banat-Germans had their own
Culture, tradition
And way of life.
But pray, don’t ethnic Germans say
The same things about migrants
Eking out a living here?

Hertha speaks a poetic language
Of a gone but not lost past,
Of the misery, angst and terror
Felt by her people.
Her books emphasise
The cruel, inhuman face of communism,
Under Nicolae Ceausescu.

A chronist walking
Along the thin line,
Between poetry and terror,
Where every line is a cry
Against injustice
With pregnant titles:
The Fox Was even Then a Hunter (1992),
Herztier (1994),
In the Hair-knots Lives a Lady,
The King (Ceausescu) Bows and Kills (2000)
The Pale Gentleman and the Mocca Cups (2005).

Herta said:
‘My innermost desire is to write
I can live with it.’
Her literary style is precise,
Laconic and matter-of-fact.

Despite her publications,
Ms. Müller was a nobody.
Without her notes on Oskar Pastiors
She couldn’t have penned ‘Atemschaukel.’
It became more than a swing of breath.
She was shadowed, interrogated and persecuted.

Günter Grass said:
‘I’m very satisfied with the Literature Prize
For Herta from Stockholm.’
Karasek quipped:
‘My mantra is always for Philip Roth,’
And sounded like: ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy.’
Germany’s literary pope
Marcel Reich-Ranicki:
‘I plead for Roth and wish to say
No more.’
Literary critics form the USA commented:
‘We suggest Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon,
Joyce Carol Oates
Or Bob Dylan.’

The Swedish Academy gave the prize
For the fourteenth time
To Germany.
Poor Romania.

* * *


(Sketch © 2007 Satis Shroff, Freiburg)


THE AGONY OF WAR (Satis Shroff)

Once upon a time there was a seventeen year old boy
Who lived in the Polish city of Danzig.
He was ordered to join the Waffen-SS,
Hitler’s elite division.
Oh, what an honour for a seventeen year old,
Almost a privilege to join the Waffen-SS.
The boy said, “Wir wurden von früh bis spät
Geschliffen und sollten
Zur Sau gemacht werden.”

A Russian grenade shrapnel brought his role
In the war to an abrupt end.
That was on April 20, 1945.
In the same evening,
He was brought to Meissen,
Where he came to know about his Vaterland’s defeat.
The war was lost long ago.
He realised how an ordinary soldier
Became helpless after being used as a tool in the war,
Following orders that didn’t demand heroism
In the brutal reality of war.

It was a streak of luck,
And his inability to ride a bicycle,
That saved his skin
At the Russian-held village of Niederlausitz.
His comrades rode the bicycle,
And he was obliged to give them fire-support
With a maschine-gun.
His seven comrades and the officer
Were slain by the Russians.
The only survivor was a boy
Of seventeen.
He abandoned his light maschine-gun,
And left the house of the bicycle-seller,
Through the backyard garden
With its creaky gate.

What were the chances in the days of the Third Reich
For a 17 year old boy named Günter Grass
To understand the world?
The BBC was a feindliche radio,
And Goebbels’ propaganda maschinery
Was in full swing.
There was no time to reflect in those days.
Fürcht und Elend im Dritten Reich,
Wrote Bertold Brecht later.
Why did he wait till he was almost eighty?
Why did he torment his soul all these years?
Why didn’t he tell the bitter truth,
About his tragi-comical role in the war
With the Waffen-SS?
He was a Hitlerjunge,
A young Nazi.
Faithful till the end.
A boy who was seduced by the Waffen-SS.
His excuse:
„Ich habe mich verführen lassen.“

The reality of the war brought
Endless death and suffering.
He felt the fear in his bones,
His eyes were opened at last.

Günter Grass is a figure,
You think you know well.
Yet he’s aloof
And you hardly know him,
This literary titan.
He breathes literature
And political engagement.
In his new book:
Beim Häuten der Zwiebeln
He confides he has lived from page to page,
And from book to book.

Is he a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles,
In the same breast?
Grass belongs to us,
For he has spent the time with us.
It was his personal weakness
Not to tell earlier.
He’s a playwright, director and actor
Of his own creativeness,
And tells his own tale.
His characters Oskar and Mahlke weren’t holy Joes.
It was his way of indirectly showing
What went inside him.
Ach, his true confession took time.
It was like peeling an onion with tears,
One layer after the other.
Better late than never.

* * *
On Her Majesty’s Lyrical Service:

Poet Laureate (Satis Shrof)

Wanted:
A person who writes in lyrical form,
Composes verses for occasions,
Good stanzas in favour of kings and queens,
Princes and Princesses,
For the price of 5000 Sterling pounds
And, of course, 650 bottles
Of Sherry,
To inspire the poet.
And the title of Poet Laureate.

A court poet is a smith of verses,
Not a bass-guitarist
Of the royal band
Based in Buckingham.
Beginners need not apply.
Candidates should be
A professor of English Literature.

The last Poet Laureate penned
Verses in praise of Edward
And his beautiful Sophie,
A hundred years of the Queen Mother
And the latter’s sad demise.
The Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary,
A rap-rhyme for rosy-cheeked Prince William,
When he turned twenty-one.
Yeah! ‘Better stand back
Here’s a age attack.’
He even congratulated Charles and Camilla
On their belated marriage.
The Prince was overwhelmed
When he heard Motion’s
‘Spring Wedding.’
But all verses weren’t,
As we say in Germany:
Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen.
Motion’s ‘Cost of Life’ on Paddington,
‘Causa belli’ emphasised
Elections, money, empire,
Oil and Dad.
Themes and lyrics that bother us,
Day in and day out.
The rulers and battles won are expected
To be praised to Heaven,
Like Master Henry,
Ben Jonson et al have done

In 1668 John Dryden was sacked
Not for his bad verses,
But for changing his confession.
Sir Walter Raleigh and William Morris
Didn’t relinquish their freedom
And said politely: No thank you, Ma’am.
And with it a keg of wine
From the Canary Isles,
That could have been theirs.

Free literary productivity and court-poetry
Are strange bedfellows indeed.
In these times of gender-studies,l
Women’s quotes and emancipation,
It wouldn’t be far-fetched
If Carol Ann Duffy,
A Scottish poetess,
Became the next Poetess Laureate.
What a lass!
She’s openly gay,
Didn’t you say?
Has fire anyway.

What a thankless job:
A royal lyrical whisperer,
Striving for public relations
In poetry prize panels,
In the name of poetry.
A thankless job:
Take it
Or leave it.

* * *
GORDON STILL WALKING 2009 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

‘I will not walk away,’
Said PM Gordon Brown.
His ministers had walked out on him.
Disgusted with his inner circle
Of soccer-fans
And other fads.

Manchester is United,
Labour isn’t.

Was he walking by a rule?
Mr. Brown ruled with two circles:
His soccer-crazy inner circle
With Ed Balls,
An outer one with grey mice.

He was walking down a lonely road,
It seemed.
When he walked in,
He walked into Blairites.

Gordon was walking into his political savings.
Could he steer Britain’s economy
Out of the big recession?
He walked his legs off,
Pleading to Labourites to stay.

It wasn’t a walk over
For Brown’s pride,
When ministers refuse to walk
Together with him,
After the debacle at the Euro polls.

He racked his brains,
Came up with a belated inquiry
Into the Iraq war,
To save his skin.

In a last bid he reshuffled
His cabinet cards:
Darling, Miliband and Balls
Held their jobs.
Gordon promoted:
Johnson, Jowell, Mandelson,
Cooper, Burham, Ham.
Eh, was it worth to promote Ainsworth?
A soap-opera supper,
Where guests prefer
To sit and walk out at will.

Gordon is certainly walking on air.
It’s become more a walk
On a razor’s edge.
If this silly Labour circus goes on
In Downing No. 10,
He is most likely to walk
On all fours.

The battle is lost,
Er steht auf verlorene Posten.
The rats have sprung overboard.
Councils like Lancashire, Derbyshire,
Stafford, Nottinghamshire
Have become Tory counties.
Labour lost 250,
Conservatives gained 217 seats.
Captain Brown remains adamant,
And runs his ship.

I’m afraid it’s not Trafalgar.
Perhaps Cap’n Bleigh?
He clutches his crutches
And mutters:
‘I will not walk away.’

Brown has a strategy:
He hopes to limp towards autumn,
Defying the wind against him.
Can he bend it like Beckham?
Captain Brown, still at the helm,
Insists: ‘I will not waver,
Or walk away.’

Britain doesn’t know:
Whether to be awed
Or amused.
And thereby hangs
A tale.



Drinking Darjeeling Tea in England 2008 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

Beware the Ides of March
Manchester will be a milestone
In Gordon Brown’s polit-life.
Your economic ‘competence’
Has become an Achilles heel,
Your weak point.

The people’s party of New Labour
Wants to get rid of you.
These are the rumours
Heard in the trendy streets of London.

Twelve months ago Gordon Brown
Was the Messiah of Brit politics,
After Blair’s disastrous role in the Labour.
Alas, the new Messiah
Lost his face,
Within a short time.
His weakness: decision making.

England is nervous, fidgety,
For Labour fears a possible loss,
Of its 353 Under House seats.
Above the English cabinet
Looms a Damocles sword.

Will Labour watch,
Drink Darjeeling,
Till a debacle develops?
Labour is in a dilemma.
Hush, help is near.
David Miliband is going vitriolic.
A silly season indeed,
Drinking Darjeeling tea in England.


About the Author:


Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications (University of Freiburg, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.
His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.


Copyright © 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author's note, and the active hyperlinks.















October 22, 2009 | 11:09 AM Comments  {num} comments



« previous 5 next 5 »


Satis Shroff: Lecturer, Author, Poet, Singer(MGV-Kappel) Germany's Profile

Satis Shroff: Lecturer, Author, Poet, Singer(MGV-Kappel) Germany's Friends


Latest Posts
Political Commentary
Satis Shroff's...
Medical Ethnology:...
Cloister Lioba:...
Zeitgeistpoems by...

Monthly Archive
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
March 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
November 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
June 2012
September 2012
November 2013
January 2014

Change Language


Tags Archive
argentina basle blackforest buddhism creativewriting customs england fasnet freiburg freiburgkappel frieden germany himalayas hinduism kappel kirchzarten liederkranz literature mgvkappel miteinander nepal nepalese peace satisshroff schwarzwald thirdreich togetherness tolerance traditionalmedicine

Friends
Alanna
Andy Carloff
Arun Khadka
clarita zarate
Denise Ogonoski
Emily Briggs
Fi McKenzie
Franziska Seel
Gingernuts :D
Ingrid Kamerbeek
J R
Jacques
Jennifer Corriero
Kimia
Kristina Minko
LaceyHarding
Madelaine Hamilton
Maja Andjelkovic
Manish Thapa
Mariana Ballestero
Mariana Marx
Marina Mansilla Hermann
Mariya Petrova
Muqing
rebekah
Rukh Gurung
Shakti
Shucheesmita
Svetlana Radosavljevic
Swansurf2099
technologygeek
tina
Yaz
Zorica Vukovic

Links
Facebook.com
wordpress.com
www.blogspot.com


0 views
Important Disclaimer