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About the Author
Max Sessner was born in 1959 in Fürth, Germany. He has long lived with his wife in Augsburg and has held a wide variety of jobs, working as a bookseller, for the department of public health, and currently for the Augsburg public library. Sessner is the author of eight books of poetry including, most recently, Das Wasser von Gestern (The Water of Yesterday), published by edition Azur in 2019, and Küchen und Züge (Kitchens and Trains) and Warum Gerade Heute (Why Especially Today), both from Literaturverlag Droschl. Among other honors, he was awarded the 2019 Rotahorn Literary Prize.
Francesca Bell is a poet and translator and is the current poet laureate of Marin County. Her debut collection, Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019), was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award. She translated Max Sessner's collection, Whoever Drowned Here (Red Hen Press, 2023), from its original German. Her work appears widely in literary journals, and she has received a Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle and an Honorable Mention in Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Bell grew up in Washington and Idaho and did not complete middle school, high school, or college. She lives with her family in Novato, CA.
Dreamlike is a place to begin, one of many inadequate ways I might speak of the poems of Max Sessner. Liquid is better, as his poems move like water and surprise me by revealing spaces between objects and people, between moods and moments that I didn't know existed. If this book were a house, it'd be on the edge of town and have a tree growing through its roof; a river, it'd know your name but never quite make it to the sea; a photo, the person you miss most would be in it but turned around and looking the other way. In searching for passages to quote that would give you a sense of the imagination and vitality of Sessner's work, its strangely touching warmth, I found it impossible to excise a portion of a poem without including the whole. Lifelike, then, is what I'll end with, or better yet, alive.--Bob Hicok, author of Sex & LoveIn Francesca Bell's nimble and swift translations, Max Sessner's poems come across from German into English with a deft sureness and dramatic delicacy. The wry, sometimes ironic, voice and point of view of these poems is also probing of the shadow mysteries that animate our everyday lives. Silence, loneliness, unsettled companionship, chaste assertion, and everywhere a sense of shifting depths--Sessner's poems observe what we miss, and ask us to look again. They are quietly confident about what they know, and what they offer is the kind of value we find only in real poems. I'm grateful to have them.--Joshua Weiner, author of The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish
Translator Bell offers a long-overdue introduction of German poet Sessner to English-speaking readers. --Kirkus