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A postcritical poetics? Transtemporal encounters in defunct Soviet barracks in works by Ulrike Almut Sandig and Clemens Meyer

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This article argues that Ulrike Almut Sandig’s poetry models what might be termed a ‘postcritical poetics’, expanding on Rita Felski’s idea of ‘postcritical reading’ to reveal strategies for a postcritical writing. In Sandig’s earlier poems, particularly ‘russenwald’ and ‘gardinen’ (2007), she evokes encounters on and around former Soviet military installations. The poems assume a postcritical stance to the past and in turn prompt a postcritical reading. Using theories by Felski and José Esteban Muñoz, I argue that Sandig stages fleeting interpersonal encounters based on openness and fascination, which work against the backdrop of past and present violence in both works. Sandig’s encounters suggest how everyday interactions can articulate dissatisfaction with a difficult present and look towards possible ethical relations in the future. Sandig’s writing further suggests productive ways of reading other contemporary writing, which I demonstrate using Clemens Meyer’s short narrative ‘Glasscherben im Objekt 95’ (2017), which also depicts a transtemporal encounter on a defunct Soviet military installation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-328
JournalOxford German Studies
Issue number3
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Time, Encounter, Postcritical, Felski, Rita, GDR, Soviet, Military, Ethics, Poetics, Contemporary, Future, Munoz, Jose Esteban, Sandig, Ulrike Almut, Meyer, Clemens

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