Variations on Hölderlin is informed by a particular etymology of the verb “to translate”: to move the dead from one place to another. The corpse in question here belongs to Friedrich Hölderlin, the schizophrenic Romantic poet subsequently canonized by such figures as Nietzsche and Heidegger. But whereas these theorists all too often arrest his corpus in order to conduct their critical autopsies, the Variations resurrect Hölderlin to the modern day, where his schizophrenic obsessions with the gods are now updated through contemporary celestial phenomena: astronauts, radio transmissions and satellites provide a new context above, while the underground churns with the sounds of subways and cloud chambers. Caught between these two levels, Hölderlin’s poetry is reconfigured not through an accurate reproduction of his work, but rather through the fluidity of variations: “I am not mad / chronology just made me look that way.” The Variations remind us that poetry is, above all, an ongoing conversation between the dead and the living.
Geoffrey Hlibchuk was born the son of a steelworker and a lifeguard in Toronto, Ontario. After failing as a high school dropout, he attended York University where he majored in English literature and creative writing. He subsequently moved to America to join the poetics department at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During his time in academia, he has studied poetry with Charles Bernstein, Gerald Bruns, Michael Davidson, Christopher Dewdney, Lyn Hejinian, Steve McCaffery and others. He has authored numerous critical works on Canadian poetry, in addition to a dissertation that examines the link between poetry and philosophical theories of exceptionality. His current project studies the triadic relationship between poetry, technology and schizophrenia. He now works for Ontario’s Ministry of Education, where he helps develop special education policy for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Praise for Geoffrey Hlibchuk’s Writing
“…a consistent narrator and voice that is recognizable and ever evolving throughout the book.” – Broken Pencil