Exceedingly Non-Monolingual: Associating with Uljana Wolf and Christian Hawkey’s sonne from ort


The pervasive default assumption that “normal” texts are monolingual erases a complexity that, when acknowledged, spills over the boundaries of disciplines. sonne from ort, an erasure project by Berlin-Brooklyn-based poets Uljana Wolf and Christian Hawkey reshaping Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese and their German translation by Rainer Maria Rilke, is exceedingly non-monolingual: Wolf’s and Hawkey’s poetry as well as the poems they rework—including Theocritus’s Idylls which Barrett Browning rewrites— exceed the concept of a standard language, heavily draw on non-lingual aspects, and their respective idioms are intertwined with social and romantic relationships by which they are shaped and which they mediate. Reading sonne from ort, I argue, means associating with its many heterarchical connections to learn its postlingual idiom.

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