“The more I step out into nature, the more poetry reveals itself. Getting outside is a necessity, like breathing, and essential for me to keep going forward with my writing and to be well-balanced. I do not feel that humanity and nature are separate but intrinsically connected, and this belief is reflected in my poems.” Zurich-based poet TAK Erzinger on how poetry has changed her life.
“flowers oblige / extending their opening hours / and still leaves fall like stars / a colouring of comets …” —Zürich based poet T.A.K. Erzinger.
“Whether you’re a hard-partying 20-something, a new (or not so new) parent, a perimenopausal mess, or you’re legitimately old, try the Wrinkle-reducing Sheet Mask. While we cannot guarantee that this product will turn your wrinkle-riddled forehead into a smooth, ageless canvas of expressionlessness—or have any effect at all—never underestimate the power of suggestion.” Writer Lindsey Grant attempts to sell us a mask (or seven).
Read the winning poem by Canadian poet Bruce Meyer, as well as all the shortlisted poems from The Woolf’s Inaugural Poetry Competition.
“Those “bone birches”, with their touch of Plath, seem to tremble at the prospect of tomorrow. One can see the resemblance between bridal gowns, laden down birches and dejection: brides left standing at the altar of the war.” Read our judge Padraig Rooney’s comments on the poems in The Woolf’s Inaugural Poetry Competition.
“The painting is unique because Thomson captures the snow not as white dabs but as infinite digressions of white points …” Canadian poet Bruce Meyer writes about the inspiration for the poem that won The Woolf’s Inaugural Poetry Competition.
“Most of her soft rock, standards and show tunes have been rationed because, baby, we’re on the clock. We skip through history and the flashbacks hit me like rain: the gummy back seat of my mom’s car. The pimply audition, when I had to warble about never falling in love again about a decade too soon.” D.B. Miller shoulder-rolls down memory lane to the crooning of Dionne Warwick.
Readers, friends and contributors of The Woolf are blazing a trail in the literary world. Have a look at their recent successes—there’s something for everyone.
“High and mighty is Henry!” Barbara Nigg’s visual take on The Woolf’s Summer theme: High and Mighty.
“… singling out a first-, second-, and third-place winner is a little heartbreaking. Each story owns its own universe and concerns.” A word from our Short Story Competition judge, Anne Korkeakivi.
“Miniature glaciers crowd together on the path and I find myself waiting to see if they’ll start to melt, before I remember they’re actually glass.” Read Kate Paine’s winning short story.
“I wake and pick. I scratch and claw and I bleed. Every morning, every day, always.” Read runner-up J. Rushing’s story.
“A punch to the gut. Impossible to breathe. No physical impact, yet searing pain. Words, a confluence of thoughts, a convergence of letters that beg to be unscrambled, turned back into their secret gibberish. Instead, she insists, “I’m not scared of it, Mom,” she says, her voice strong.” Read K.C. Allen’s story, third place in our short story competition.
“A disheveled guy unlocks the doors. While we thaw out inside, he checks our bags, takes a loose roll call and switches from German to English for the most important news: the responsible person will let us into the sound check ‘just as soon as she comes back from the toilet.'” What happened when definitely-not-intoxicated D.B. Miller met Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
“Writing causes all the feels, oh yes. If creativity takes the shape of a parabola, weaving its highs and lows, keeping the creator coming back for one more success, parenting is without shape or limit.” Lindsey Grant tackles this age-old motherhood conundrum. And decides to keep her pants on.
“That night […] as some of ‘our’ refugees were coming to the Austrian border, we heard that Germany was closing the border to Austria. This was the beginning of the end of Schengen, Europe and everything we had hoped for as young students studying European law. What have we achieved since that night? What has split the world into two camps of supporters and opponents? What triggered all that hate? And why did I close my heart again after it had been ripped open so badly?” —Angie Weinberger
“For a second, she thinks about the description of dying her friend intercepted from the spirits: falling and fighting it with every muscle pinched in panic until the horizon tilts, hands float to the surface … and she lets go.” The latest instalment from D.B. Miller.
“Thirty-four years after the letter, I find myself in the back of an SUV on the way to a Who concert. While my parents discuss dinner options from the front seat, I try in vain to forge a link between the teenage fan and the adult.” D.B. Miller’s latest installment.
“Sometimes he wondered how it all worked, how one day flowed into the next, how the money kept coming in, why the train station was always so clean, but resolved that it was best not to ask …” A short story from local Swiss writer, Alex Hintermann.
“If you slip and almost step on a waterlogged mouse, do not attempt an artsy contortion. You will pull a muscle in your back.” D.B. Miller walks us through eight steps to success when attending Zürich’s open-air festival.
“In waves / it came / brought on / by the empty garden bench / among the willows …” Karin Kaminker is a Geneva-based poet, and we feature two of her poems in this issue.
“Fact: If you want to get close to the stage, you have to prepare. Some call it a military operation. I call it war.” D.B. Miller scans the audience in the pit with a series of vignettes.
“On November 9th, the day after the US election, I found myself in Houston. Having finished a speaking engagement at the university, I was visiting a dear friend. In need of solace, we went to the Rothko Chapel—a gathering place for civil rights activists from around the world, and an interfaith sanctuary for contemplation.” – Darcy Alexandra, organiser of the Writers Resist event in Zurich.
“The result is a sobering realisation of how quickly a society can shift from progressive to reactionary, and how much must be done by those who defend the democratic ideal. Most of all, we acknowledge the power of words.” J.J. Marsh pens a response to January’s Writers Resist event in Zürich.
Charles Blass, Zürich-based poet and DJ for Radio LoRa, performs his poem, ‘Resurrection’.
“This is punk. This is what it’s for. A woman half my age is my teacher. And she didn’t come here to dance.” D.B. Miller faces off the Petrol Girls and Dead Kennedys in her new series.
“Get out on the highway! Rouse the rabble, have a dabble. Who am I … to start something?” Zürich-based poet Claire Doble responds to the theme of ‘Beginnings’ with a spoken-word poem.
Zürich-based poet and journalist Claire Doble wrestles with what it means to have money while living in one of the richest countries in the world …
In a short work of fiction, author Paul Knott contemplates the meaning of home through the eyes of an asylum-seeker.
Environmental adaptation: contemplative prose from Zürich-based Canadian writer Sherida Deeprose.