Lather in Heaven by Ann Cotten
Release date: October 2016
Edition: 1000, 158 pages, softcover with French flaps
Design: Lisa Ifsits
August 2016: Ships immediately with pre-release orders
After the delicate first concept album I, Coleoptile (2010), Ann Cotten now comes out with a full-fledged book of English poetry and prose. Lather in Heaven assembles her work in English up to now, as well as some selected translations from the German. English, however, is a wide field. The author, known for stretching the limits of German expression, writes in an English informed more by several global variants of pidgin than by universities or writing schools. If it sounds like Shakespeare, it also sounds like slips from Chinese fortune cookies.
The poems hail from various third- and first-world countries the author spent time in; the largest body of poems was written in Japan. Cotten's linguistic estrangement is both trauma and solace. In tune with her generation, she does not seem to feel bound to a single position. She will pound in the brutality of a postcolonialist reality only to create, in the next line, some bizarre fluff that flies off into speculative aesthetics. The topics may grasp at the personal and the general with one and the same phrase; misused rhetoric serves to aggravate the sensibility of the crass realities we live in with the startling trusting gestures of a domestic plant gone feral.
The book is interspersed with fine black-and-white photography by the author. After the poems and songs, it includes four stories from Der schaudernde Fächer, Cotten's prize-winning German prose collection, and an interesting dialogic lecture on the evolution of art memes.
Ann Cotten, born 1982 in Iowa (USA), grew up in Vienna, Austria, where she studied German Literature. 2006 she moved to Berlin. Her first book of poems consisted of 78 double-sonnets, creating a surprise effect in the German poetry scene. Since, she has published her diploma thesis on concrete poetry (Nach der Welt, Klever Verlag 2008), a second book of poetry and prose ostensibly written by a palette of characters (Florida-Rooms, Suhrkamp 2010), a 1-Euro elegy (Das Pferd, SuKultur 2007), a part of a bibliophile "Schock" edition (Pflock in der Landschaft, 2011) and a book in English; "I, Coleoptile" (Broken Dimanche Press, 2011). With Monika Rinck and Sabine Scho, she performs the "Rotten Kinck Schow", a wild theory and paper-mache thing, irregularly. In 2013 she published The Quivering Fan a collection of short stories in German currently being translated into English, "Hauptwerk. Softsoftporn" and "Rein – ja oder nein?" and has been working on a project on the Kanji in Japan.