Jan Wagner

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Jan Wagner Biography

Jan Wagner was born in Hamburg in October 1971. He studied British and American Studies at the University of Hamburg and the Trinity College in Dublin, before moving to Berlin, where he still lives today.

In Berlin Wagner started out by working on the international “literature box” Die Aussenseite des Elementes. Since 1995 he had been issuing the box together with Thomas Girst and a changing editorial team, till, after the eleventh edition, the project had to be ended in 2003.

Jan Wagner Poems

Botanic garden

weighing up my words to you -
silent couples drifting to and fro,
beds of fallen leaves, the naked trees,
the blooms of fences blue as verdigris,

Haute coiffure

the gaze was gripped by the mirror's golden vice:
she with red nails, I with white
cloth, covered like a museum-piece.


we met them in the woods within a clearing:
two expeditions passing through the twilight
eyeing one another silently. between us the nervy
telegraphic buzzing of a swarm of gnats.

Autumn vilanelle

the days' light is running out
and an hour lasts a mere ten minutes.
the trees were playing their last colours.

Provincial bar rooms

behind the bar facing the door
the framed photograph of the football team
smiling heroes whose faces betray nothing

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