wordkunst

Alexander
Booth

Poetry. Translation.

Poetry

Roman Hours

Alexander Booth
Roman Hours

Poems

Chapbook / Pamphlet
Limited edition of 100 numbered copies
Spring 2017

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Chromatic_SGCatalogue


Chromatic


Stuck in a yellowed silence then simply stuck one post-catastrophe. Loves, leaves, that which was come apart in between. Colours now darker. Landscape other. Which worlds unsung which ones to come in that expanse the singular bloom: you: committed cadence of undoing.

Some afternoons a wash of Flemish light flame-lined they flared across the iron waters, sparked silver into evening, blurred the few figures beneath, then smouldered westward on swallowtail and shadow. Willow branches low. Twilight in the collar hinting past the curtain of the song.

This is what one remembers.

Still, up there, where evening only shows in reverse, one watched the weather warble pale in the panes. While down below, light already other, hope edged inward slowly, unseen, as it will. An embrace, a quiet falling, coagulation into alphabets unknown.

And yet, in the ripped-toothed city no ruin was ever gentle. An incessant hurry here construction furies against what will fade, creates, outside then in, the new geography of now: concrete, clip, angle and edge.

Portrait_SGCatalogue


Portrait


That city will always wear
Two faces, or more, of course, if not
For me: two
                  veils, decade-
Drawn & mute
                      mostly, seamless
Ghosts across the seasons. More unsure

Than ever every corner
          joins in the ritornello: rust
Straw        Past wound
            up like leaves, like hair, like heat
The sun's eternal arc
                         forever dividing
This bed into now & then          you & you












This Broken-Waisted Waltz


Morning through the window, the inner courtyard: no shaft but throat, the space, the pearlflecked light now cotton, now cocooned. Tea. A candle. The same sweater worn for weeks. Radio. Black bread with cheese. The light that comes. The window. The silence.

The story in this city has always been the same: back & forth a wandering of streets, one side to the other, see: this shall be, have been, a story of certain silence. Of simple drift & days. Muteness. Tonalities of gray. Elevated railways that break to blackout. Disappearing act empty, audience absent, of echoes always one: wait harder.


Cast


Long the light, & still
Hot. First reds, a yellowing
   In leaf
Breeze on burnt grass
In corners the shadows of wings


The presence of air


Without my having noticed
Something

Had changed

Not that I could leave
But could no longer stay

Inside the small
A glimpse, overheard

Perfect my death word

Books in translation

Picture of an androgynous teen Sandro Penna Within the Sweet Noise of Life: Selected Poetry

Sandro Penna
Within the Sweet Noise of Life: Selected Poems

Poetry. From the Italian.
London: Seagull Books

Winter 2021
ISBN: 9780857427878

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Widely considered to be among the most important Italian poets of the twentieth century, Sandro Penna (1906-1977) was born and raised in Perugia but spent most of his life in Rome. Openly gay, Penna wrote verses celebrating homosexual love with lyrical elegance. Juggling traditional Italian prosody and subject matter with their gritty urban opposites in taut, highly concentrated poems, Penna’s lyrics revel in love and the eruption of Eros together with the extraordinary that can be found within simple everyday life. There is something ancient in Penna’s poetry, and something Etruscan or Greek about the poems, though the landscape is most often of Rome: sensual yet severe, sinuous yet solid, inscrutable, intangible, and languorous, with a Sphinx-like and sun-soaked smile.



The Communicating Vessels Two portraits of grief book cover collage-like

Friederike Mayröcker
The Communicating Vessels: Two Portraits of Grief

Lyric memoir. From the German.
New York: A Public Space

Winter 2021
ISBN: 978-0-9982675-8-6

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Friederike Mayröcker met Ernst Jandl in 1954, an encounter that would alter the course of their lives. Jandl’s death in 2000 ended a partnership of nearly half a century. Taking its cue from André Breton’s work of the same name, 'The Communicating Vessels' is an intensely personal book of mourning, comprised of 140 entries spanning the course of a year and exploring everyday life in the immediate aftermath of Jandl’s death. Rilke is said to have observed that poetry should begin as elegy but end as praise: taking this as a guiding principle, 'And I Shook Myself a Beloved' reflects on a lifetime of shared books and art, impressions and conversations, memories and dreams. These two singular books of remembrance and farewell offer a stunning testament to a life of passionate reading, writing, and love.



Impressionism in Russia Dawn of the Avant Garde image of woman in field with children

Various Authors
Impressionism in Russia: Dawn of the Avant-Garde

Art book. From the German.
Munich: Prestel

Autumn 2020
ISBN: 978-3-7913-5983-0

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In the late 19th century, numerous Russian artists found inspiration in the style of French Impressionist painters. Often, a journey to Paris acted as a catalyst for their burgeoning interest in the movement. They developed a preference for working en plein air and aimed to capture transitory effects through a spontaneous and free handling of the brush. Many leading painters of the later Russian avant-garde arrived at their individual styles due to studying the Impressionist use of light. This lavishly illustrated volume explores the many-layered ways French Impressionism influenced the evolution of Russian art from the 1880s to the 1920s, including the work of painters as diverse as Ilya Repin, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, Natalia Goncharova, and Kazimir Malevich. Essays by many of the leading scholars in the field provide rich new insights into one of the most intriguing chapters of Russian modernism.



Eroica Beethoven and Bonaparte image of classical scultpure in blue-and-white

Various Authors
Eroica: Beethoven and Bonaparte

Art book. From the Italian.
Milan: Fornasetti

Autumn 2020
ISBN: 9788894162967

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On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, Fornasetti invites three illustrious academics, Luigi Mascilli, Quirino Principe and Armando Torno, to investigate the ideal bond between the German composer and Napoleon Bonaparte. The result is a volume of essays, accompanied by a CD containing the Symphony N. 3, the famous Eroica, performed by the orchestra Silete Venti! directed by Simone Toni. Consisting of 164 pages, the book features a Swiss paperback cover with flaps. All images of the decorations come from the Fornasetti archive. Bilingual Italian/English.



Gramsci's Fall

Nora Bossong
Gramsci's Fall

Novel. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Spring 2020
ISBN: 9780857426918

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Is it possible to fight for social justice if you’ve never really loved another person? Can you save a country if you’re in love? Forty-six-year-old Anton Stöver’s marriage is broken. His affairs are a thing of the past, and his career at the university has reached a dead end. One day he is offered the chance to go to Rome to conduct research on Antonio Gramsci, at one time the leading figure of Italian communism. Once there, he falls obsessively in love with a young woman he has met, while continuing to focus his attention on the past: the frail and feverish Gramsci recovering in a Soviet sanatorium. Though Gramsci is supposed to save Italy from Mussolini’s seizure of power, he falls in love with a Russian comrade instead. With a subtle sense of the absurd, Nora Bossong explores the conflicts between having intense feelings for another and fighting for great ideals.

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Poetry and Time

Joachim Sartorius and Max Neumann
Poetry and Time

Art book. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Summer 2019
ISBN: 9780857426550

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For nearly half a century, German artist Max Neumann has worked to create, hone, and elaborate a visual vocabulary that is dark, compulsive, and forceful. A lifelong collaborator, Neumann’s paintings have accompanied the work of Cees Nooteboom, Seamus Heaney, Fernando Pessoa, and László Krasznahorkai, among many others. In 'Poetry and Time', Neumann’s haunting images are accompanied by a lyrical and penetrating text from poet Joachim Sartorius, who notes that a certain silence is at the very heart of poems, stating: “They know what it is they do, but do not say it.” Exploring this mystery, he considers examples from Dickinson, Rilke, and Shakespeare, among others, and examines the realities of transience and mortality at the center of poems’ reasons for being, their urge to form their own reality and abolish time while being inextricably bound to time. Sartorius’s ruminations beautifully complement Neumann’s series of thirty poignant paintings, making this volume an extraordinarily rare and exquisite book.

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Love Writ Large

Navid Kermani
Love Writ Large

Novel. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Summer 2019
ISBN: 9780857426024

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For a fifteen-year-old, falling in love can eclipse everything else in the world, and make a few short weeks feel like a lifetime of experience. In 'Love Writ Large', Navid Kermani captures those intense feelings, from the emotional explosion of a first kiss to the staggering loss of a first breakup. As his teenage protagonist is wrapped up in these all-consuming feelings, however, Germany is in the crosshairs of the Cold War—and even the personal dramas of a small-town grammar school are shadowed by the threat of the nuclear arms race. Kermani’s novel manages to capture these social tensions without sacrificing any of the all-consuming passion of a first love and, in a unique touch, sets the boy’s struggles within the larger frame of the stories and lives of numerous Arabic and Persian mystics. His becomes a timeless a tale that reflects on the multiple ways love, loss, and risk weigh on our everyday lives.

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confine

Collective Narrative
Confine

Reportage. From the Italian.
Como: Delicious Editions

Spring 2018
ISBN: 9788894004113

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A collective narrative about how the Italian city of Como and its railway station, on the border between Italy and Switzerland, became a refugee camp.


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The Nameless Day

Friedrich Ani
The Nameless Day

Novel. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Spring 2018
ISBN: 9780857424778

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After years on the job, police detective Jakob Franck has retired. Finally, the dead will no longer have any claim on him. Or so he thinks. On a cold autumn afternoon, a case he thought he’d long put behind him returns to his life—and turns it upside down. 'The Nameless Day' tells the story of that twenty-year-old case, which began with Franck carrying the news of the suicide of a seventeen-year-old girl to her mother, and holding her for seven hours as, in her grief, she said not a single word. Now her father has appeared, swearing to Franck that his daughter was murdered. Can Franck follow the cold trail of evidence two decades later to see whether he’s telling the truth? Could he live with himself if he didn’t? A psychological crime novel certain to thrill fans of Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo, 'The Nameless Day' is a masterpiece, a tightly plotted story of contemporary alienation, loss, and violence.

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Berlin Heartbeats

Anke Fesel / Chris Keller
Berlin Heartbeats: Stories from the Wild Years

Art book. From the German.
Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag

Spring 2017
ISBN: 978-3-518-46768-8

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Berlin after reunification is no longer an island. Old structures are dissolving, leaving new spaces for improvisation and experiment. These in-depth photo essays and exclusive conversations tell groundbreaking as well as lesser-known, though no less extraordinary stories, bringing to life the city’s recent history. Includes conversations with Klaus Biesenbach, Frank Castorf, Flake, Dimitri Hegemann, Judith Hermann, Robert Lippok, Sven Marquardt, Christiane Rösinger, OL, and Sasha Waltz. With photographs by Ben de Biel, Harald Hauswald, Ute Mahler, Hendrik Rauch, Philipp von Recklinghausen, Markus Werner, and Rolf Zöllner.

Pdf excerpt
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Moor

Gunther Geltinger
Moor

Novel. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Spring 2017
ISBN: 9780857423689

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It’s the early 1970s and Dion Katthusen, thirteen, is growing up fatherless in a small village in northern Germany. An only child plagued with a devastating stutter, Dion is ostracized by his peers and finds solace in the company of nature, collecting dragonflies in a moor filled with myths and legends. On the precipice of adulthood, Dion begins to spill the secrets of his heart—his burning desire for faultless speech and his abiding relationship with his mother, a failed painter with secrets of her own. Even as Dion spins his story, his speech is filled with fissures and holes—much like the swampy earth that surrounds him. Nature, though so often sublime, can also be terribly cruel. A mysterious and experimental portrait of childhood, 'Moor' is evocative and bold—Dion’s story emerges from the forces of nature, his voice rising from the ground beneath the reader’s feet, not soon to be forgotten.

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In field latin

Lutz Seiler
in field latin

Poems. From the German.
London: Seagull Books

Spring 2016
ISBN: 978-0996944205

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Lutz Seiler grew up in the former East Germany and has lived most of his life outside Berlin. His poems, not surprisingly, are works of the border, the in-between, and the provincial, marked by whispers, weather, time’s relentless passing, the dead and their ghosts. It is a contemporary poetry of landscape, fully aware of its literary and non-literary forebears, a walker’s view of the place Seiler lives, anchored by close, unhurried attention to particulars. With his precise, memorable language—rendered here in compelling English—Seiler has pulled off a difficult feat: recontextualizing and radically personalizing the long tradition of German nature writing for the twenty-first century.

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MUSEUM OF UNHEARD (OF) THINGS

Roland Albrecht
The Museum of Unheard (of) Things

Art book. From the German with You Nakai.
New York: Already Not Yet

Autumn 2015
ISBN: 9780996944205

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MUSEUM OF UNHEARD (OF) THINGS is the catalogue raisonné of the world-famous "literary cabinet of curiosities" in Berlin, which holds the record of being the most visited museum in the German capital (if one offsets the number of visitors to the square meters of the exhibition space). The museum collects unique objects to which curator Roland Albrecht has patiently lent his ear in order to hear the unheard (of) story each of them has to tell. This book is the first publication to assemble all the 78 stories in the current collection, all categorized according to weight, translated into English for the first time. These extraordinary tales of seemingly ordinary objects invite the reader to imagine the world differently by listening more carefully and intimately to all the things that surround our everyday lives.

The museum
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Next Stop: Italy

Verna Curtis, Luca Panaro
Next Stop: Italy

Art book. From the Italian.
New York, Los Angeles: Artbook

Spring 2013
ISBN: 9788881588626
OUT OF PRINT

2013 is the Year of Italian Culture in the United States, and this publication aims to celebrate Italy's less familiar, unexpected beauties. The photographers presented here travel not just to museums and palaces, but also city centers and deserted country roads, offering still lifes and portraits as well as cityscapes and landscapes. With works by Gabriele Basilico, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Mario Cresci, Renato D'Agostin, Andrea Galvani, Luigi Ghirri, Mimmo Jodice, Nino Migliori, Francesco Nonino, Bianca Sforni, Franco Vaccari and Paolo Ventura, Next Stop: Italy gives a refreshing and informative overview of the contemporary photography scene in Italy. Each photographer opens their section with a poem; the authors range from Leopardi and Lorenzo de' Medici to Montale, Pasolini, Pavese and Ungaretti.

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Short Pieces & Sketches

Black-and-white drawing of Malwida von Meysenbug

Alexander Booth
Malwida von Meysenbug

Short Biographical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Autumn 2020
No. 52

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Although born in 1816 into an aristocratic family in Kassel as Amalie Malwida Wilhelmina Tamina Rivalier, Malwida von Meysenbug (the title was given to her father in 1825) developed her passionately democratic and egalitarian ideas at an early age. The writer, educator, and cultural force would today also be called an activist. Intensifying over the years leading up to the German Revolution of 1848, her steadfast belief in and support of women’s education, self-sufficiency, and an equal role in society surpassed that of many of her contemporaries and remained undiminished throughout her life.



Illegal Age art cover

Alexander Booth
The Braille of a Restless Lake

Book Review.
Tikkun

Spring/Summer 2019
Vol. 34, No. 2/3

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Over the last decade and more, poet Ellen Hinsey has been engaged in an unflinching examination of war, tyranny, and their effects on the spirit through works such as The White Fire of Time (2002), Update on the Descent (based, in part, on her research work at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Hague; 2009), her translations of Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova, and Mastering the Past (2017). Her latest work, the harrowing yet darkly beautiful book-length sequence, The Illegal Age, continues the poet’s investigation of what she calls the “autocratic experience.”



Charles Wright photo by Dan Addison

Alexander Booth
Charles Wright

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Winter 2016
No. 37

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Although poet Charles Wright was born in Tennessee, he has been a lifelong admirer, indeed amante, of the country and culture of Italy. Throughout his long career it has featured significantly in numerous poems and collections. Indeed, in addition to his more than twenty books of poetry, he has published book-length translations of Italian poets Dino Campana and Eugenio Montale (the latter work receiving a PEN Translation award). First coming to Italy in the 1950s with the US military, it was while he was stationed in Verona that he began to write and to read poetry.



Dario Bellezza photo by Dino Ignani

Alexander Booth
Dario Bellezza

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Winter 2015
No. 33

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Unlike a number of 20th century artists by now long associated with Rome, the poet, novelist, and playwright Dario Bellezza (1944 – 1996) was born and lived his entire life in the city. Cultivating and living the life of the artist-outcast and poète maudit, Bellezza was infamous for the outspoken and often confrontational/controversial nature of his writing and personal life, which was often related to his being openly homosexual. Extremely prolific, he published more than twenty works of poetry, prose and pieces for the theatre in only twenty-five years.



Amelia Rosselli photo by Dino Ignani

Alexander Booth
Amelia Rosselli

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Summer 2014
No. 27

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A growing number of critics of 20th-century Italian poetry agree that few writers have been as important and original as Amelia Rosselli (1930 - 1996). She was born in Paris to Marion Cave, an English Labour Party activist, and Carlo Rosselli, leader and founder with his brother Nello of the anti-Fascist movement Giustizia e Libertà. Already familiar with exile, Amelia was soon introduced to tragedy when, in 1937, her father and uncle were murdered by La Cagoule, a French, fascist-leaning, revolutionary group. Moving to England and then to the United States, Rosselli did not live in Italy until 1948. She settled in Rome where, in addition to studies in music, she began to work as a translator.



Juan Rodolfo Wilcock portrait

Alexander Booth
Juan Rodolfo Wilcock

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Spring 2012
No. 18

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Juan Rodolfo Wilcock (1919 – 1978), an Anglo-Argentine writer (who died before his request for Italian citizenship was approved), was more than anything prolific. To paraphrase his friend and publisher Roberto Calasso, it is probably easier to say what Wilcock did not write, or attempt to write, rather than what he did. Over thirty years and in various languages, he produced six books of poetry; literary, musical, and art criticism for international journals and magazines; numerous novels; plays; and more than thirty works in Spanish translation from the English, French, German and Italian.



Vernon Lee portrait by John Singer Sargent

Alexander Booth
Vernon Lee

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Winter 2011
No. 17

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Violet Paget or, as she was known after 1875, Vernon Lee, was a prolific English critic, essayist, historian, travel and fiction writer, who also wrote in French, German, and Italian. Born in France, she grew up in Rome between the ages of twelve and seventeen and spent most of her life in Italy. Known today primarily for her “fantastic” fiction (which, in reality, makes up a very small part of her oeuvre) and her writing on aesthetics, in her time Lee was admired for her numerous writings on the culture, history and landscape of her adopted homeland and, in particular, her constantly evolving concept of the genius loci or “spirit of place”.



Antal Szerb portrait

Alexander Booth
Antal Szerb

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Autumn 2010
No. 12

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Antal Szerb was a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, historian, and scholar widely considered one of the most important Hungarian writers of the 20th century. He was born in Budapest, grew up in a middle-class family of assimilated Jews, and was a lifelong practicing Catholic. Nevertheless, with the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, Szerb was dismissed from his teaching post under the anti-Jewish laws of the time, and sent to a forced labour camp at Balf where he died.



Pier Paolo Pasolini standing at Gramsci's relocated grave 1961

Alexander Booth
In Whose Shadow? Pasolini, Gramsci & Shelley

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Spring 2010
No. 10

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In the fifth section of his poem Le ceneri di Gramsci (The ashes of Gramsci) composed in 1954, Pier Paolo Pasolini writes: O how/I understand, mute in the rotten rustling//of the wind, here where Rome is mute,/among the sighs of disconsolate cypresses,/near you, soul which spelled out sounds//Shelley…How I understand the flurry/of feelings, the whim (Greek/in the heart of the northern, aristocratic // vacationer) that swallowed him up in the blind/blue of the Tyrrhenian; the carnal/joy of adventure, aesthetic//and puerile...Here we are then, ghosting together with the thirty-two-year-old, conflicted poet, in internal exile from his home of Friuli, from Rome, from Italy itself...



Wilhelm Waiblinger self portrait

Alexander Booth
Wilhelm Waiblinger

Short Biograpical Sketch.
Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome Newsletter

Autumn 2009
No. 08

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Wilhelm Waiblinger (1804-1830) was a romantic poet and prose writer born in the Schwabian town of Heilbronn who grew up primarily in Stuttgart and Reutlingen. He is known today mainly for his biography of Friedrich Hölderlin, whom he befriended while a theology student at the famed Tübinger Stift (from which, in true Romantic fashion, he was to be expelled in 1826 due to a “scandalous” love affair with an older woman).



Awards

in field latin

PEN / Heim Translation Fund Grant
"in field latin"

2012
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Clients

Suhrkamp
Seagull Books
A PUBLIC SPACE
Dumont
The American Academy in Berlin
Schering Stiftung
Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici
Haus am Kleistpark
L42 Media Solutions
Open Migration
Parallel Zero
MGK Siegen
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