Ann Cotten

Sonnets from the Dictionary of Borrowed Words - Poems

(German title: Fremdwörterbuchsonette)
ca. 165 pages
Ann Cotten
Foto: Ann Cotten
© Inge Zimmermann

Ann Cotten, born in Iowa in 1982, grew up in Vienna. She has been living in Berlin since 2006. In 2011, she spent four months in Nagoya, Japan.

For her first poetry collection, Fremdwörterbuchsonette (2007), she was awarded the Reinhard Preissnitz Prize and the Clemens Brentano Prize for Literature of the city of Heidelberg. For Florida-Räume (2010), she received the Hermann Hesse Literature Prize. In 2014, Ann Cotten was awarded the Adelbert-von-Chamisso-Prize; in 2015, she was the first recipient of the newly founded Klopstock-Prize for Contemporary Literature. In 2017, she was awarded the Hugo-Ball-Prize for her oeuvre

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Weighed down by few associations, artificial, new, or existing in our everyday language merely temporarily – loan words seem to apologise for their existence: »I’m only fulfilling a conceptual function, occupying a job for which there’s no qualified German available at the moment.«

Could they be serious? Ann Cotten employs them in the rattling machines of thought processes within her poems: youthful impetuosity in the garb of the sonnet, plain and simple thoughts, love with all its reciprocal reactions. Pete Doherty, Patti Smith, and Sappho, joined by unknown DJs and friendly allegories, ghost through the nightly verses and wake up the following day in a linguistic environment that must seem entirely strange to them.


From the jury’s statement on the Hugo-Ball-Prize 2017:
»Ann Cotten receives the Hugo-Ball-Prize 2017 for her unique and inventive work. In her novels, essays, poems, or epic poems, she utilizes the possibilities of literary forms to their fullest extent and considers language to be a matter of art first and foremost. In her texts, politics, philosophy, and aesthetic calculations merge to oscillating creations that are dedicated to revolution as much as they are to beauty. Her works stand out among contemporary literature due to the fearlessness of her thinking. She questions that which seems to be self-evident, and unites the incongruous, yet the shocks that may be caused by this are counterbalanced by her clear and elegant style.«

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