Stephan Pabst: Landscapes of Oblivion: Lutz Seiler’s Poetics

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, landscape poetry has been tinged with anachronism. Any claims to contemporaneity landscape poetry may make are predicated upon its being discernibly conscious of its own anachronism. This is the case with Lutz Seiler. His landscapes are places of origin as well as places to which one resignedly returns. Whoever fails to leave them has failed in history. Thus, in his landscapes Seiler addresses the gradual obsolescence of a certain kind of experience, namely, the obsolescence of a puerile experience of nature as well as the obsolescence of the GDR before 1989. However, in Seiler’s poems this very obsolescence is employed in order to re-create landscape as language of poetry. The more the places of origin, the characters of the past, and the perished rituals of socialism tend to fall into oblivion, the more they gain in terms of lyric quality. The latter is marked by a mixture of both increasing hermeticism and an air of concrete historicity. The texts’ semantics is due to the obsolescence of their subject matter and landscapes constitute the space in which this obsolescence is set. My presentation will deal with this connection – the connection that exists between obsolescence and the reconstruction of landscape as a language of poetry.

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