READINGS AND INTERVIEWS
“In his poetry, Literature and Languages faculty member Peter Filkins attempts to bridge formal sophistication with an engaging voice that can speak to a large audience with emotional and intellectual clarity. “I show my students that poetry, good poetry, can be accessible, and that involving themselves with poetry can help them to see the world around them more clearly,” Filkins says.
Augustine’s Vision, Filkins’s third book of poems, was published in June as the winner of New American Press’s annual chapbook contest. Kelly Cherry, acclaimed writer and judge for the contest, writes of it, “By turns discursive, dramatic, and lyrical, Augustine’s Vision presents a startlingly good poet who courageously interrogates ideas of evil, sin, and death while celebrating the goodness of creation, including both nature and the creations of humankind.”
“Peter Filkins is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia University, where he received his M.F.A. in poetry. An Associate Professor in the Division of Languages & Literature at Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Filkins has translated Ingeborg Bachmann’s collected poems, Songs in Flight, which received an Outstanding Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association. In addition he has translated Bachmann’s novel fragments, The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann, as well as a novel by Alois Hotschnig titled Leonardo’s Hands. His own poems have appeared in two volumes, What She Knew and After Homer, and his poetry, translations, and reviews, have appeared in The Paris Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The New Republic, and numerous other publications. He is currently working on a translation of H. G. Adler’s novel, Eine Reise, and his new collection of poems will be released by Zephyr Press in 2006.”
H.G ADLER’S PANORAMA: A CONVERSATION WITH PETER FILKINS AND RUTH FRANKLIN AT AUSTRIAN CULTURAL FORUM, NEW YORK
“Translator Peter Filkins talks about H.G. Adler’s PANORAMA. Set in the vanished world of pre-war Bohemia, it follows the young Joseph from childhood in Prague to adulthood in the concentration camps. Filkins also talks about Adler’s THE JOURNEY. And we preview next week’s show.
H.G. Adler was one of the greatest novelists you’ve never heard of. A survivor of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, the Czech national moved to London after the War and began writing fiction, poetry, philosophy, and history–most of it centered around his experience of the Holocaust. His book about day-to-day life in Theresienstadt was one of the first such survivor accounts to emerge from the war and it basically invented the field of Holocaust studies. But his fiction remained largely unknown, especially outside the German speaking world–a loss for us, as his writing is brilliant, almost hallucinatory in its lyrical penetration of the emotional reality of suffering.
In 2008, we spoke with award-winning translator Peter Filkins about H.G. Adler’s novel, THE JOURNEY, the first of three based on Adler’s life. Now, Filkins has translated the second in the trilogy, PANORAMA.
The novel is constructed as a series of discrete windows into the life of its protagonist, Josef. The novel begins by recreating the vanished world of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hugarian empire. We follow Josef as he moves from childhood in a middle class Jewish family in Prague, through his youth, then as a forced laborer under the German occupation, an inmate in the camps, and finally after the war in London. What emerges is a kind of Joycean Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Filkins says, that illuminates Josef’s deepening moral sense as his world dissolves around him.
We talk with translator Peter Filkins about H.G. Adlers THE JOURNEY. A survivor of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, Adler moved to London after World War II and began writing fiction, poetry, philosophy, and history–most of it centered around his experience of the Holocaust. His book about day-to-day life in Theresienstadt was one of the first such survivor accounts to emerge from the war.
But his fiction remained largely unknown, especially outside the German speaking world. Now, Peter Filkins has brought one of his greatest novels, The Journey, to English readers. It’s the first-ever English translation of what is being called a lost masterpiece of Holocaust literature.
“A few years ago, Peter Filkins, an award-winning translator of German, walked into a Cambridge, MA bookstore, read a few pages of an obscure German novel and recognized that he had stumbled onto literary gold. Written in the early 1950s, The Journey was one of the 26 volumes penned by the German Jew H. G. Adler, a Holocaust survivor who sought to memorialize and understand the experience through fiction, poetry, social history, and philosophy. The Journey garnered enormous critical attention. Filkins has now translated another of Adler’s books, entitled Panorama. Inspired by Adler’s life, the novel is told from the point-of-view of young Josef Kramer – the adolescent describes life in post-World War I Bohemia, from peace in a country town to oppression in a militaristic school and trauma in a German concentration camp. World Books editor Bill Marx spoke to Filkins about ‘Panorama’ and why many critics think Adler is a major addition to Holocaust literature.”
PETER FILKINS ON TRANSLATION AND H.G. ADLER’S PANORAMA AT THE KELLY WRITERS HOUSE
Q&A: PETER FILKINS ON H.G. ADLER AT THE KELLY WRITERS HOUSE
“H.G. Adler survived the Holocaust and became one of the founding fathers of Holocaust scholarship. The Journey, a work of experimental fiction, was neglected by Europeans upon its release 1962. When writer and translator Peter Filkins came across the novel in a used bookstore in the U.S., he realized that Adler’s depiction was singular, moving, and modern. The book was published by Random House in the fall of 2008.
Peter Filkins is a poet and translator. Previously he has translated the collected poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, Darkness Spoken, as well as her novels The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. His translation of H.G. Adler’s novel The Journey was published in fall 2008 by Random House. Previously his work has been awarded an Outstanding Translation Award from ALTA, a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, and a Distinguished Translation Award from the Austrian Government. He teaches at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.”
WHAT SHE KNEW
SONGS IN FLIGHT
THE BOOK OF FRANZA AND REQUIEM FOR FANNY GOLDMANN