On its original publication in 2000, Pitch and Glint was widely hailed as a landmark in German poetry. Rooted in Seiler’s childhood home, an East German village brutally undermined by Soviet Russian uranium extraction, these propulsive poems are highly personal, porous, twisting, cadenced, cryptic and earthy, traversing the rural sidelines of European history with undeniable evocative force. The frailty of bodies, a nearness to materials and manual work, the unknowability of our parents’ suffering, and ultimately the loss of childhood innocence, all loom large in poems where sound comes first. As Seiler says in an essay, ‘You recognise the song by its sound. The sound forms in the instrument we ourselves have become over time. Before every poem comes the story that we have lived. The poem catches the sound of it. Rather than narrating the story, it narrates its sound.’
Seiler evokes an East German community left ecologically and emotionally devastated in the Soviet era.
‘Pitch & Glint resists description but compels shock, admiration and envy. It has something of the amphibrachic chant of early Celan, jolie-laide language, lower case, ampersands, a harsh and physical sampling of a childhood in a working landscape (the uranium mines) in the last years of the GDR.’ Michael Hofmann