Hey guys! We’re back with another chapter which I’m really excited about! I’ve had chats randomly with Sophia (You might know her as TeaCupBookWorld on Instagram) over the last few months and recently she was kind enough to give us some of her time and write up a recommendation for Luxembourg. I honestly had no idea about the place except the name (could hardly get the spelling right!) Sophia is a regular on Bookstagram where she is very active and does weekly readathons as well. I’ve recommended her account on bookstagram recently and am going to do that again. Click her name to reach her account: Sophia and let’s let Sophia take over this post!
‘At The Devil’s Banquets’ by Anise Koltz
It is only recently that I began to research local authors in Luxembourg, so for that reason my book recommendation today is a little different – this is a newly discovered author and book for me too.
I have lived in Luxembourg for just under two years and I am slowly learning about a unique culture which, before I relocated here, I barely knew existed. Luxembourg is a very small country bordering France, Germany and Belgium, so the most notable authors are usually of French or German origin.
The author I chose to discuss is Anise Koltz – she is the Vice President of the European Academy of Poetry, and the founder and director of the festival Les Journées de Mondorf. She was born in Luxembourg in 1928, but as Luxembourgish was not even a written language until about 30 years ago, the majority of her work is written in French and German (the two other local languages). Interestingly, she began by writing only in German, however, after the death of her husband – who was a victim of torture by the Nazi occupation – she could no longer bring herself to write in the German language. When she started writing again, the only language she would use, was French.
Anise started her career by writing fairy stories in the 1950s, but later, she switched her focus to poetry. As a fellow poet myself, I was keen to explore her work and the words she wanted to share. The first book of her poetry that I encountered, is called ‘At the Devil’s Banquets’.
Her writing in this book fascinates me as it is so lyrical yet at the same time raw and painful. She makes bold statements questioning our world, and yet, her words are also metaphors and wild contemplations. There is a subtle anger in her style which really resonates with me:
‘Lost in space
eternity turns back
to the glacial era
Keeps watch over our petrified bodies
sites abandoned by time’
We encounter so much gentle and simple poetry in daily life (which definitely has its place) but we are not often faced with the truly hard–hitting pieces. For me personally, I love to ponder a powerful stanza full of fearless observation.
Alongside this complex and dark narration, she also creates some intimate pieces about more run–of–the–mill subjects such as the writing of poetry itself. I really enjoyed this piece called ‘The Poet’, below is a small extract:
‘He holds back the poem
the way you hold your breath
Until he learns to breathe
is a mark of his claws’
To read Anise’s work is to discover a wonderful correlation between her writing and Luxembourg itself – uncharted beauty where you are least expecting it.
This was Chapter 9 of the traveling biblio chornicles by Sophia. You can buy the book here from book depository
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Chapter 8: Estonia here