Unrecounted

Poetry

W.G. Sebald, Jan Peter Tripp
translated by Michael Hamburger

A keepsake of one of the greatest writers of our time, Unrecounted comes as an unexpected gift to all the readers who loved W.G. Sebald.

W.G. Sebald and Jan Peter Tripp were friends from their schooldays. Unrecounted combines 33 of what W.G. Sebald called his "micro-poems"—miniatures as unclassifiable as all his works—with 33 lithographs by the acclaimed artist Jan Peter Tripp. The art and the poems do not explain one another, but rather engage in a kind of dialog. "The longer I look at the pictures of Jan Peter Tripp," Sebald comments in his essay, "the better I understand that behind the illusions of the surface, a dread-inspiring depth is concealed. It is the metaphysical lining of reality, so to speak." The lithographs portray with stunning exactness pairs of eyes: among them the eyes of Beckett, Borges, Proust, Jasper Johns, Francis Bacon, Tripp, and Sebald. The poems are anti-narrative, epiphanic and brief as haiku. What the author calls "time lost, the pain of remembering, and the figure of death" here find a small home.

 

 

In deepest sleep

a Polish mechanic
came and for
a thousand silver dollars made me
a new perfectly functioning head

 

 


 

Terrible

is the thought of our worn-
out clothes

 

 

More Praise…

“The magic of W.G. Sebald's incandescent body of work continues to unfold, with this unexpected collaboration.”

— Susan Sontag

“An extraordinarily handsome edition of poems by the late great writer.”

Confrontation

“Sebald's elliptical 'micropoems' evoke the metaphysical bewilderment Sebald knew so well.... Unrecounted is actually deeply consonant with his deepest impulses as a writer.”

The New Republic