Lather In Heaven
Lather In Heaven
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 date, as well as some selected translations from the German. English, however, is a wide field. The author, who is 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 are set in (or rather, 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 like a dandelion seed. The topics may grasp at the personal and the general with one and the same phrase; the rhetoric trusts and serves the sensibility of the moment like a domestic plant gone wild.
The book is interspersed with fine black-and-white photography by the author and her friend Anne Michalek. Michalek also contributed the illustrations to the chapter "In – Yes or No?" which is a direct translation-reprint of a rare silkscreen chapbook published with the Berlin artisan Rainer Slotta. As well as this, three stories from Der schaudernde Fächer, Cotten's prize-winning German prose collection, are also included.
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.