United States of America
Guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme 2008, Picador Guest Professorship for Literature 2010
The prize-winning New York lyricist Christian Hawkey is repeatedly drawn to Berlin. No wonder: he is married to the Berlin poet Uljana Wolf, whom he met in 2008 at a poetry festival in Slovenia. Ever since, Berlin has been his “second home”.
Berlin is the second central focus of my life.
The German-American poetry-writing couple are also closely linked through their work. They each translate their partner’s work into their own language and publish jointly. For example, Hawkey’s first volume of poems appeared in German as early as 2008, largely translated by his wife. Entitled Travelling at the Speed of Goats, it was published in a bilingual edition by KOOKbooks Verlag Berlin. Hawkey completed the book project during a stay as a guest of the DAAD’s Artist- in-Berlin programme.
Hawkey’s poems have been published in leading magazines and anthologies in the United States and Europe. They transport the readers into imaginary worlds that nevertheless have a solid grounding in reality. He links together very different topics, images and emotions and is a master in playing with the medium of language. His volumes of poetry – including The Book of Funnels (2004), Citizen O (2007) and Ventrakl (2010) – have brought him enthusiastic reviews and some major American literary prizes, such as the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Creative Capital Innovative Literature Award. In 2013, Hawkey and Wolf co-authored a book entitled Sonne from Ort, published by KOOKbooks Verlag Berlin.
Hawkey has been Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, since 2004. This is his day job, he says, poetry comes second. In 2010, he taught in Leipzig as a Picador Guest Professor for Literature – a guest professorship that was established in 2006 at the Institute for American Studies in cooperation with the DAAD.
Hawkey was born in 1969, grew up on Pine Island in Florida, and studied on both the East and West Coast of America. He completed his studies in creative writing at the University of Massachusetts, where he co-founded the U.S. literary journal Jubilat in 2000.