Empires and Holy Lands

Empires and Holy Lands : Poems 1976-2000

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"Twentieth Burning in the Bishopric of Wurzburg": Today we rose early. The autumn smells of wet air and fallen leafage and rotting apples and plums and pears were crisped by frost at that hour. The mist, settled on the hills, did not, I noticed, lift until midday. Today we did good work and burnt six. One was Goebel's girl, Anna, for many here in Wurzburg the city's greatest beauty; sixteen and, it is true, with a certain freshness; but we cannot make exceptions. Another, and one whom, I must confess, I secretly regret, was young Bernhard, who played the oboe on April evenings in his room overlooking the deacon's garden. He spoke several languages. Then the two boys, the twins, the butcher's boys, twelve years of age, both of them brats. One day I watched Alfred, the younger, I believe, by twenty minutes, crush a starling's head. The bird was helpless, had broken a wing.And there was Stepper's daughter, Suzannah, a six-year-old, but already able to help her father considerably, who, let's face it, is a foolish cripple, and easily the city's worst cobbler.Last on the list for today, the creature who kept the bridge gate: I don't even know her name, but remember that as she passed her odour nearly knocked me out. No loss to anyone, filthy old so-and-so. I noticed Frau Braunach among the crowd. She's looking older. We burnt her husband, the senator, the lecherous old lump, a year or so ago. Funny how it attracts above all those who have lost most. It went off very quietly; we sang till the flames were quite low. Weydenbusch, who succeeded Schwerdt as choir-master, tells me this year's will be an excellent vintage. And he should know, he owns half the vineyards round the town. I must see to the cellars.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 148 pages
  • 139.7 x 215.9 x 8.9mm | 199.58g
  • Salt Publishing
  • Applecross, WA, Australia
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1876857463
  • 9781876857462
  • 1,359,750

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Michael Hulse is an award-winning poet. In 'Empires and Holy Lands', his German literary interests lead his to consider the disjuncture between European high culture and the barbarism of the Shoah. "On Location" has the Shoah continuing to resonate in a post-modern present through movies... There are witty poems here - Michelangelo's statue of Moses seen as "a patriarchal bully-boy./ Mister universal Law"... Clearly there is room for the demonic in this sophisticated, highly enjoyable collection. -- Peter Lawson Jewish Chronicle - The Weekly Review

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About Michael Hulse

Michael Hulse was born in 1955 and grew up in Stoke-on-Trent. He read German at the University of St. Andrews and has taught English and post-colonial literature at universities in Germany and Switzerland. His poetry has earned him numerous awards and taken him on reading tours worldwide, and his work as translator (Goethe, Wassermann, Sebald) has brought him accolades from Susan Sontag, A.S. Byatt and many more. He runs the poetry press, Leviathan, and edits Leviathan Quarterly.

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