The poet Tzveta Sofronieva (b. 1963), who will be Max Kade Writer-in-Residence at MIT in Spring 2012, is a native speaker of Bulgarian who has adopted German as her second literary language. Sofronieva left Bulgaria, where she was already established as a poet, in 1989 as a consequence of her involvement in political opposition activities. She eventually settled in Berlin, which remains her home, and began to take German lessons in 1991, at the age of twenty-eight. Her first German-language poems were published in the literary journal Akzente in 2007. In 2009 Sofronieva was awarded the Robert Bosch Foundation's Adelbert-von-Chamisso Förderpreis for Eine Hand voll Wasser [A Hand Full of Water] (2008), her first book-length collection of poetry to appear in German. The Chamisso prizes have been awarded annually since 1985 and are given to authors writing in German whose mother tongue or cultural background is not German. Sofronieva is a physicist by training and holds a doctorate in the history of science.
"Listen carefully to her. She has something to say."
-Joseph Brodsky on Tzveta Sofronieva
Un-lost in translation
(Trans. Chantal Wright)
The window at the front and right of my compartment
reflects the scene on the left at my rear.
I can see what is passing superimposed on
what is coming, and it is as though the light
likes this game, irrespective of where the sun is,
or where the train is heading.