“we will read the detonation backwards.” Words can do a lot in Ronya Othmann’s long-awaited first book of poetry. They know of no boundaries in times, desires and nations. They salvage and mourn the buried stories of life between all conventions and cultures. In her poetry debut “die verbrechen”, Ronya Othmann addresses flight and destruction. Resistant and at the same time unprotected as well as intimate at every point, her existential poems bring a new tone to the present. The inhumane crimes of the world and pure happiness, the strangeness of one’s own life and never-ending homesickness come together in all that “you know about when you close your eyes”.
Ronya Othmann was born in Munich in 1993 to a German mother and a Kurdish-Jesidic father and lives in Leipzig. She has received the Caroline Schlegel Prize for Essay Writing, the Open Mike Poetry Prize, the Gertrud Kolmar Prize and the Audience Award of the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition, among others, and has been writing the column ‘Import Export’ for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung since 2021. In her multiple award-winning debut novel ‘Die Sommer’, published by Hanser-Verlag in 2020, the author already told the story of the expulsion of the paternal part of her family. Othmann knows from her own experience the settlement area of the Yazidis, which is, as it were, torn between the borders of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Her poems bring to mind what has been lost there, and not just since the massacres in 2005.
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This is what the press says:
“Othmann’s texts transcend genre boundaries and demonstrate a profound examination of displacement, flight and homesickness, of repression and massacres of minorities worldwide. From her family history, it seems, a kind of life theme has emerged, which she approaches with high ethical standards, independent of genre. […] With ‘die verbrechen’ Ronya Othmann has landed a poetic coup of international magnitude.” (Deutschlandfunk)
“The poems bring barren landscapes and existential feelings before our eyes with great linguistic splendour and precise composition.” (rbb Kultur)
“The images Othmann finds for this speechlessness are of almost physical intensity. Ronya Othmann makes the silence speak and tells, among other things, of a pain caused by Turkish and European politics.” (Jungle World)