Clemens J. Setz

The Ostrich Trumpet - Poems

(German title: Die Vogelstraußtrompete)
ca. 88 pages
Clemens J. Setz
Foto: Clemens J. Setz
© Max Zerrahn

Clemens J. Setz, born 1982, lives in Graz.

»As evil as Nabokov, as virtuosic as David Foster Wallace.« Welt am Sonntag

»One of the highest hopes of German literature.«

Prizes received for his work:

Literaturpreis des Kulturkreises der deutschen Wirtschaft 2013

Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2011
(for Die Liebe zur Zeit des Mahlstädter Kindes)

Literature Prize of the City of Bremen 2010

Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2009 (Die Frequenzen, 2009)

Ernst-Willner-Preis 2008 at the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Wettbewerb

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Uncanny, abyssal and tender verse


Why did young women in the nineteenth century like to stick sharp needles in their mouths in the dark? What is it that prevents someone from being a great lover? And what do childless parrots do?

The answers to these and many more questions are to be found in Clemens J. Setz’s new collection of poetry, The Ostrich Trumpet. The same can be said of his uncanny and by turns abyssal and tender poetry as has been said of his prose: »No one gets out unscathed. Caution: highly addictive.« (Andreas Platthaus, FAZ)

On Parrots

Childless parrots
who fly free in the apartment
sometimes begin to feed shoes

They take them for open beaks
and collect seeds for them

No unknown pair of boots
however high-heeled
that stayed here just one night
has to go home empty

English Translation Copyright © 2014 Ross Benjamin


»Laconic, with an ironic, humorous undertone, Setz brings prosaic material and lyrical form, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the superficial and the profound in relation to one another.« Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»[The Ostrich Trumpet’s] prosaic tone opens the fate to a cabinet of wonder filled with peculiar findings from old newspapers, even older books, the internet or the author’s dreams. Setz is a gifted collector and his form the object trouvé.« Süddeutsche Zeitung, Insa Wilke

»[…] when reading these poems, a great urgency becomes palpable, a new, weird look onto life and existence, an occasional shift in perspective that leads to new modes of perception. These verses are stimulating and invite a closer engagement.« Die Furche, Maria Renhardt

Other publications

Bot/Bot (2018)

Rights available

Die Stunde zwischen Frau und Gitarre/The Hour Between Woman and Guitar (2015)

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Spanish world rights (Malpaso), France (Jacqueline Chambon), Italy (La Nave di Teseo), Bulgaria (Paradox)

Indigo/Indigo (2012)

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USA (W. W. Norton / Liveright), UK (Serpent's Tail), Chinese complex rights (China Times), France (Jacqueline Chambon), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Czech Republic (Fra), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Funtasy), Croatia (Hena Com)

Die Liebe zur Zeit des Mahlstädter Kindes/Love in the Times of the Mahlstädter Child (2011)

Sold to:

Arabic world rights (Al'Asreya), France (Actes Sud / Jacqueline Chambon), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Czech Republic (Fra), Hungary (Europa), Bulgaria (Funtasy), Romania (Univers), Macedonia (Blesok)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Griot)