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Ernst Meister

Of Entirety Say the Sentence

Of Entirety Say the Sentence

By Ernst Meister, Translated by Graham Foust and Samuel Frederick

  • One of the last books by post-war German poet and Georg Büchner Prize winner Ernst Meister—and the third to be translated into English by poet Graham Foust and scholar Samuel Frederick—Of Entirety Say the Sentence is his most expansive book. With rich allusions to Hölderlin and Celan, these poems are staggering in their scope of mortality, time, and infinity. Bilingual (German/English) edition.

    The other two books in the trilogy are In Time's Rift (2012) and Wallless Space (2014), which was shortlisted for the National Translation Award in Poetry.

    Check out pictures and notes from Graham Foust's visit to the Ernst Meister archives: Part 1 and Part 2.

    Named one of the best poetry books of 2015 by Entropy Magazine

  • Arguably the most emotionally resonant of Meister’s late trilogy, this collection carves out a much-needed space for an essential and often overlooked poet.
    Publishers Weekly

    Meister compacts a meditation on the nature of space, nothingness and our interaction with the two in the work’s sparse, dense lines.
    Lindsay Choi, The Daily Californian

  • Ernst Meister (1911-1979) was born in Hagen, Germany, and studied first theology, then literature, art history, and philosophy (the latter under Karl Löwith and Hans-Georg Gadamer) at various German universities. After the publication of his first book in 1932, he published no poetry for two decades, a silent spell that ultimately gave way to the prolific last third of his life, over the course of which he produced more than sixteen volumes of verse as well as numerous other literary and visual works. Often compared to Paul Celan because of the brevity and difficulty of his poems, Meister tends toward a more abstract existentialism that renders his work both intensely emotional and inimitably strange. Having written outside the dominant literary circles of his time, he remains relatively unknown, though he was posthumously awarded the most prestigious award for German literature, the Georg Büchner Prize, having been informed of the honor just days before his death.

    Graham Foust is the author of several collections of poetry, including A Mouth in California (Flood Editions, 2009) and To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions, April 2013). He teaches at the University of Denver. With Samuel Frederick, he has translated three volumes of poetry by Ernst Meister, including In Time’s Rift (Wave Books, 2012), Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014), which was shortlisted for ALTA's National Poetry in Translation Award, and Of Entirety Say the Sentence (Wave Books, 2015), in addition to Meister's Uncollected Later Poems (1968–1979) (November 2023).

    Samuel Frederick is the author of Narratives Unsettled: Digression in Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Adalbert Stifter (Northwestern University Press, 2012). He is an assistant professor of German at the Pennsylvania State University. With Graham Foust he has translated three volumes of poetry by Ernst Meister, including In Time’s Rift (Wave Books, 2012), Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014), which was shortlisted for ALTA's National Poetry in Translation Award, and Of Entirety Say the Sentence (Wave Books, 2015), in addition to Meister's Uncollected Later Poems (1968–1979) (November 2023).

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

ISBN# 9781940696171 (5.5x9 192pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696164 (5.5x9 192pp, limited edition hardcover)

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