Cornelia Marks (Germany)

Exclusive: European poetry: Curated by Agron Shele
Cornelia Marks (Germany)

Cornelia Marks, freelance translator, author, editor

Born September the 2nd in 1969 in Erfurt (Thuringia), studied Slavonic studies and German Literature at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, several longer or shorter trips to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, where she met poets and translated their work which is mainly poetry, during the years she worked together with André Schinkel, a poet from Halle Saale. Since 2007 she works as a freelance translator, author and editor. 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 she took part in the International Poetry-Festival of Sarajevo (“Sarajevski dani poezije”) as a translator, but also read from her own work. In 2013 she took part in the Poetry-Festivals in Dresden (BARDINALE), in Istanbul and Izmir 2013, in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Hercegovina) 2015. Her poetry, which she writes since her childhood, was published magazines and anthologies, some poems have been translated into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Macedonian, Turkish and Russian). C. Marks is a member of the writers-association of Saxony-Anhalt, the Association of German-speaking translators of literary and scientific works and of the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis Sachsen-Anhalt.

Translated from German into English by Marco Organo


this was the kitchen
cups and bowls made of clay
lie on a heap of rubble
one once kept the sugar
for the bitter black coffee
and there
the bulbous cup of bright porcelain
still untouched still at its place
as if the owner just left
to get some milk.

the town does not exist anymore
only its shadow is left
magnolia bloom every year
in the gardens of vanished houses

sometimes a stork spreads its wings as a sign

on the radio the news about a wedding:
the bride wore a transparent veil and a white gown.


My room –
a prison to you

you followed the light
against your destiny

Now you are here
circling around me
afraid, panicking
off the walls
so white
that you’ll be visible
on them forever.

Does darting sideways
flying in a zigzag
mean that
you are tracking yourself?

At one point
you give up
as a dark spot
at the bright ceiling
I watch you


Tell me what it was like, Zuleika,
how you loved your poet, loved so much,
that your smile, you couldn’t give him,
the hopeless tender touch of your hand,
the kisses you breathed into the void
curdled to mysterious verses of dark amber
making the “Divan”
a symbol of your love,
every syllable a promising glance,
every rhyme a heartbeat,
every metaphor a hieroglyph
of the longing both of you felt.
Pieces at exhibition whisper in chorus,
hold him tight, don’t let him go…
Between all those showcases, old desks and clocks
I suddenly look right into the hazel of his eyes,
and I press it gently, that warm hand of the poet.

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