"The Hunger Angel" and "Collagepoems" Enthuse Chicagoland
"All that I have I carry on me. Or: All that is mine I carry with me. I carried all that I had, butit wasn't mine. Everything either came frome someone else or wasn't what it was supposed to be." - Herta Müller, "The Hunger Angel", 1st chapter
Enlarge image Philip Boehm and Herta Müller during the autograph session following the reading (© Germany.info/chicago) Whoever said that German is an unattractive language was proven wrong during Herta Müller's lecture at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Organized by the Goethe-Institut, the Poetry Foundation, and Herta Müller's US publishing house, the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature Laureate attracted a huge audience from Chicagoland. Old and young gathered to enjoy the vibrant and rich variety of expressions held within Herta Müller's opus. Readings from four chapters of “The Hunger Angel” (“Atemschaukel”) and twelve “Collage poems” gave a unique insight into the rich literary world of Herta Müller.
Enlarge image Readers line up during the autograph session (© Germany.info/chicago) Many of the guests seized the opportunity to get their copies of Herta Müller's books signed or just to briefly meet Herta Müller after the reading. The guests were invited to stay for a reception hosted by the Poetry Foundation and German Consul Evita I. Diasilua. Consul General Onno Hückmann and his wife Martina invited their friend Herta Müller to a buffet dinner at the Consul General's residence.
|"It was the Cold War. Bucharest was grey. Bucharest was dark. Bucharest was cold. It was there that I learned how important freedom is." - Onno Hückmann, Consul General|
Enlarge image Herta Müller reads from "The Hunger Angel" (© Germany.info/chicago) Born in the German speaking town of Nitzkydorf, Romania, Herta Müller witnessed her mother's deportation to the Soviet Union in 1945 from where she returned in 1950. Shortly after her studies, Herta Müller experienced the oppressive side of Ceausescu's Romania. Her refusal to be an informant for Romania's omni-present secret police in 1979 led to harassment, interrogations and accusations. Herta Müller's publishing of a collection of short stories - “Nadirs” (“Niederungen”) - in 1982 was almost immediately censored in Romania for describing the oppression in a Romanian village. It wasn't until two years later that this book was published uncensored in Germany.
Enlarge image Philip Boehm, Herta Müller, Consul General Onno Hückmann, Martina Hückmann (© Germany.info/chicago) Consul General Onno Hückmann and his wife Martina met Herta Müller in the early 1980s, when Martina Hückmann was head librarian at the Bucharest Goethe-Institut and Onno Hückmann served as Cultural Attaché with the West German Embassy in Bucharest. In his speech - which can be downloaded from this site – Consul General Onno Hückmann shared his own experience with the Ceausescu regime which included being shadowed in the street, the telephone being bugged, and his home being broken into and finding the unmistakable signs of the secret police's presence-a broken matchstick symbolizing the blatant form of intimidation by the Securitate.