42nd Pader­born Guest Lec­ture­ship for Writers: Jan Wag­n­er comes to Pader­born Uni­ver­sity

 |  CampusPress releaseZentrum für deutschsprachige Gegenwartsliteratur (ZdG)Institut für Germanistik und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft

In the winter semester 2023/24, the poet and essayist Jan Wagner will take over the 42nd Paderborn Guest Lectureship for Writers. The offer from the Institute for German Language and Comparative Literature and the Centre for Contemporary German Literature at Paderborn University is organised by Prof. Dr. Norbert Otto Eke and Prof. Dr. Stefan Elit and will take place on Mondays at 4.15 pm in Lecture Hall G from 18 December. Admission is free. Further information on the guest lectureship and an overview of all dates can be found on the event website

The series of events entitled "What happens in the poem" starts with an opening reading from Wagner's lyrical works. Three further lectures will follow: on 8 January on "The poem as a medium", on 15 January on "The poem as smoke and mirrors" and on 29 January on "The poem as truth and lies". A special reading completes the programme on 22 January from 7.30 pm in the small stage in the Deelenhaus (Krämerstraße 8-10): Wagner and Uli Lettermann from Paderborn University's Department of Music will then be hosting the "lyrical-musical Rencontre: Töne, Steine & Erden". On 30 January, the programme will be rounded off with an academic symposium on Wagner's work, which will take place from 9 am to 4 pm in the Studiobühne at Paderborn University.

Eke is delighted to have gained a special expert for the guest lectureship in Wagner: "Jan Wagner takes up traditional lyrical forms, keys and styles of writing in his poems with both relish and virtuosity: the ode, the sonnet, the rondo, the haiku and so on. With playful ease, he brings together heterogeneous elements and poetically enriches the tangible and the everyday, true to his motto 'By reading poetry, we learn something about the things that surround us, about language, the world and ourselves'. Time and time again, he questions the unchallenged logic and evidence of our perception of reality and thus also the unchallenged linguistic development of the world. Wagner's poems are erudite and rich in allusions within a cultural-historical horizon that ranges from the early modern period to contemporary popular culture; however, they always remain orientated towards the reader, especially as Wagner always knows how to open up spaces of possibility for the narrative as a dimension of the lyrical. With the combination of the everyday, linguistic virtuosity and appealing tonal design, he has been able to inspire a broad reading public, which is not quite usual for poetry." Literary critic Gustav Seibt praises Wagner as a "curious, worldly adventurer [...] free of Biedermeier, boyishly surprising, with inspiring skill."

About the author

Wagner was born in Hamburg in 1971 and grew up in Ahrensburg in Schleswig-Holstein. His enthusiasm for poetry was awakened by an English teacher who "also gave him numerous poets to read who were not on any timetable" (interview in the "Hamburger Abendblatt" of 12 March 2015). Wagner wrote his first poems at the age of 15. He studied English, first at the University of Hamburg, then at Trinity College Dublin and finally at Humboldt University in Berlin, where he wrote a master's thesis on the youngest generation of Anglo-Irish poets in 2000. From 1995 to 2003, together with Thomas Girst, he published the literary loose-leaf collection "Die Außenseite des Elementes" (boxes of poems, stories, graphics, photos and gimmicks), modelled on Marcel Duchamp. He has been a freelance writer and poet, poetry translator, literary critic and editor of poetry anthologies since 2001. His poems have already been translated into numerous languages and, not least after receiving the Büchner Prize in 2017, he can be described as one of the most important German-language poets of his generation. Wagner is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry, the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz and the Free Academy of Arts in Hamburg. He lives in Berlin.

This text has been translated automatically.

Photo (Nadine Kunath): Jan Wagner's guest lectureship at Paderborn University focusses on the poem.


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Prof. Dr. Stefan Elit

Institut für Germanistik und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft


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