Leipzig’s 1003rd summer lights up its coda, scorching the remains of the mid-European dress code to loincloths.
At midday, trees are teabags in the steaming kettles of parks.
At midnight, we wonder from our damp bed sheets if, at dawn, we will find our alleys aligned with banana palms instead of lime trees, and, in the sleepless maze, we envy Mediterranean countries, not for their azure horizons ā our lakes are just as good ā but for the ubiquitous air conditioners, which we swear to purchase here and now, prices be hanged.
It is still without an air conditioner but with a head somewhat cooled by tap water that Iām writing this. Still, Iām burning with all the songs of Leipzig I have been privileged to read. Not Homer-blind but blindfolded ā not literally but literarily, a mock-Themis of words ā I didnāt know the names of the bards whom Iām now writing about until after I selected them.
The winners of Leipzig’s 1003 Nights quadrilingual literary contest are…
āLeipzig ā ŃŃŠ°ŃŃ Š»ŠøŠæŠø ŃŠŗ ŃŃ Š¾Š“Šøā / āOld lime trees like stairsā¦āā Viacheslav Huk (Ukrainian)
An indomitably rhythmical evocation of Leipzigās wartime past of over 70 years ago, before the layers of post-industrial, post-Wall sleekness and all kinds of chic from Jugendstil to GrĆ¼nderzeit to Bohemian coated it ā when the now shallow White Elster River still rolls its āfat wavesā. The dexterity of raw imagery and elegant syllabics, the tangibility of this vanished world – yet by spirit very recognizably Leipzig, whether the author has ever actually been here.
āUnd weiter und fortā / āOn and onā ā Julie Sophia SchĆ¶ttner (German)
A seemingly simple account of a failed after-disco date: āWe are young, we are beautifulā; āI have forgotten what itās like not to laughā. It might have happened anywhere in a big city, yet, somehow between the lines, the breath of Leipzig is tangible. A story very much in the present, an epitome of millennial wistfulness, nostalgia, relationship fetus miscarried. I was completely taken by the smooth flow of the story, āon and onā, and by the authorās wise, melancholy compassion to her Russian-born, German-bred alter ego and her charming shallow dance partner.
āMemoir of an Anarchist CityāĀ ā Adam Carrington (English)
A jarring mix of historical tenses and genres fitted in two pages, melodrama-fiction, the noir-humorous interpretation of Charlemagneās conquest of Leipzig’s plains. The piece is a terse fable embracing the past and a dystopian future in a never-ending spiral curl. I was much impressed by the flexibility of language, ranging from lyrical to tour-de-force.
And here are the runners-up…
āŃŠ»Š¾Š²Š½Š¾ Š¤Š¾Š¼Š° ŠæŠ¾Š“ Š¼Š°ŃŃ ŠŠµŠ½Š“ŠµŠ»ŃŃŠ¾Š½Š°ā / āLike Thomas to Mendelssohnās Wedding Marchā ā Olga Bragina (Russian)
I liked this stream-of-consciousness poem with Leipzig elements woven into a tapestry pattern of a Germanophile literary reader ā a maze of well-combined imagery.
āOne Crazy Knight in LeipzigāĀ ā Glenn Horvath (English)
Diaries of a modern-day expat madman, atmospheric, wittily rendering various struggles of a vagrant mind: foreign language, identity and the eternal search for truth ā Ken Keseyās Patrick McMurphy in Leipzig.
āŃŠŗŠ¾Š»ŃŠŗŠ¾ Š»ŠµŃ ŃŃ Š“Š¾ŃŃ?ā / āHow long have you been a daughter?āĀ ā Iya Kiva (Russian)
This piece moved me deeply. Not directly connected with Leipzig, it raises the painful topic of forced displacements, loss of motherland to modern-day atrocities ā here, the current civil war in Ukraine, now largely forgotten, ousted from the European minds. It was on the long Leipzig nights that the thoughts of the violated Eastern Ukraine, of my Donetsk friends who had to become refugees, of my bombarded alma mater in Horlivka tormented me ā in my personal history, Leipzig is chained to the focal point of the poem.
Iām sending this report off now, with gratitude to LeipGlo for entrusting me with the task of judging the 1003 Nights Literary Contest. Iām having another sip of tap water. My blindfold mask has fallen, the authors have returned to their word-children and my curiosity has been quenched, as has my quadrilingual ŃŠæŃŠ°Š³Š°, Durst, Š¶Š°Š¶Š“Š°, thirst.
Editor’s note: Besides publication advice from the judge, the winners will have each of their contest entries individually published on The Leipzig Glocal, along with a photo and short profile. They will also be able to choose one item from the LeipGlo Spreadshirt shop as a prize, and to perform, or have their piece performed in their absence, at our next Cocktail Open Mic (14 September 2018). The other finalists’ pieces will be published on our site as one post with a short intro by the judge.