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Books

Top German literature prize goes to poet Jan Wagner

The Georg Büchner Prize, the most important literary accolade for the German language, goes this year to poet Jan Wagner. The 45-year-old is also a translator of poetry in English.

Poet Jan Wagner garners this year's top German literature prize, the German Academy for Language and Literature announced Tuesday.

"Jan Wagner's poems combine a playful pleasure in language with a masterful control of form, musical sensuality and intellectual conciseness," the academy lauded on its website. "While they engage in dialogue with major traditions of poetry, they are also completely contemporary."

Wagner published his first edition of poetry in 2001, entitled "Probebohrung im Himmel" (Trial Drilling in Heaven), and 10 more have come out since then. He has published translations of poetry in English, by poets such as Charles Simic, James Tate, and Matthew Sweeney, since 2000. Furthermore, he has edited several poetry anthologies.

Germany's top literary award

The Georg Büchner Prize, along with the Goethe Prize, is considered the most important literary prize for the German language. It is named after the author of the influential German play, "Woyzeck."

The 50,000-euro ($56000) literary prize is awarded annually by the German Academy for Language and Literature to authors "writing in the German language whose work is considered especially meritorious and who have made a significant contribution to contemporary German cultural life."

Four laureates of the Georg Büchner Prize subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Literature: Günter Grass, Heinrich Böll, Elias Canetti and Elfriede Jelinek.

als/kbm (with dpa)

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