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Flight and Metamorphosis

Poems: A Bilingual Edition

Nelly Sachs; Translated from the German by Joshua Weiner with Linda B. Parshall

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Flight and Metamorphosis Download image

ISBN10: 0374157081
ISBN13: 9780374157081


208 Pages



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So far out, in the open,
cushioned in sleep.
In flight from the land
with love's heavy luggage.

A butterfly-zone of dreams
like an open parasol
held up against the truth.

Flight and Metamorphosis marks the culmination of Nelly Sachs’s development as a poet. Sachs, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, speaks from her own condition as a refugee from Nazi Germany—her loneliness while living in a small Stockholm flat with her elderly mother; her exile, her alienation, her feelings of romantic bereavement; and her search for the divine. Forced onto a journey of endless change, Sachs created her own path forward.

From these sublime poems, she emerges as a visionary, one who harnesses language’s essential power to create and transform our world. Joshua Weiner’s translations (with Linda B. Parshall) are the first in more than half a century to elucidate Sachs’s enduring poetic power and relevance.


Praise for Flight and Metamorphosis

"This book is divine. Sachs’ poems are exquisitely crafted in German and in Weiner’s English, but they are also divine because Sachs and her latest translators are aware of a higher power in language . . . there are poems in Flight and Metamorphosis that express a mellow rapture and a poise that can only be called wise . . . Weiner has rendered the powerful, haunting poems of Flucht und Verwandlung in accessibly magisterial English. Flight and Metamorphosis will stand as a crucial contribution: the definitive English translation of this collection, one of the most powerful Sachs wrote."—Stephan Delbos, B O D Y

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Nelly Sachs; Translated from the German by Joshua Weiner with Linda B. Parshall

Nelly Sachs (1891–1970) was a dramatist and poet. Born into a Jewish family in Berlin, she was forced to flee Germany with her mother in 1940 and escape to Sweden, where she worked as a translator. Her collections of poetry include In the Habitations of Death, Eclipse of Stars, and And No One Knows Where to Go. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966.

Joshua Weiner is a poet and translator. He is the author of Berlin Notebook: Where Are the Refugees?, The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish, From the Book of Giants, and The World’s Room, and he is the editor of At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn. From 1997 to 2021 he served as the poetry editor at Tikkun magazine. He is a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, and lives in Washington, D.C.

Linda B. Parshall’s publications include scholarly articles and translations focused on German literature, landscape theory, and art history from the medieval to the modern period. She edited and translated Letters of a Dead Man by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau.

Nelly Sachs

Nobel Prize Biographiy