Satis Shroff (Germany)

Satis Shroff (Germany)
Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and has taught Creative Writing at the University of Education and the University of Freiburg. He is a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author. He is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. The German media describes him as a mediator between western and eastern cultures. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world.
Writing experience: Satis Shroff has written two language books on the Nepali language in German for DSE (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst) & Horlemannverlag. His anthology of poems ‘Katmandu. Katmandu’, German poems “Im Schatten des Himalaya” and travelogue “Through Nepalese Eyes” have been published on He is a contributing author on His feature articles have been published in the Munich-based Nelles Verlag’s ‘Nepal’ on the Himalayan Kingdom’s Gurkhas, sacred mountains and Nepalese symbols, and on Hinduism in ‘Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India), and his poem ‘Mental Molotovs’ was published in epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt). You can find his writings under: satis shroff literature. He has been featured in The Rising Nepal, The Christian Science Monitor, the Independent, the Fryburger, Swatantra Biswa (USIS publication), Himal Asia.
You hear the waves
As they splash onto the shore.
You haven’t opened your eyes,
But you discern the cries of sea gulls,
As you slowly let the sunlight
Into your eyes.
Ah, the reassuring rays caress your face,
As you proceed to the balcony,
Stretch yourself
And let out cha-cha-cha,
Pa-pa-pa sounds between your teeth,
That you’ve learned
While singing in your choir.
A seagull with a fish in its beak
Flutters by.
All white and airborne,
Twinkling on a blue sky.
Out in the horizon,
A turquoise blue trawler chugs by.
* * *
Pantoum poem by Satis Shroff:
What hope of answer or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.
In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,
Thought about the Doge’s palace
And the prison beyond the bridge,
I was imprisoned in my mind.
Thought about the Doge’s palace,
In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,
I was imprisoned in my mind,
For a life was underway.
It was a far better choice I had made,
I was imprisoned in my mind.
The product of our genes,
For a life was underway.
I was imprisoned in my mind,
Swimming in a small amniotic sea;
For a life was underway,
I had to say adieu to a love.
Swimming in a small amniotic sea,
That was not to be.
I had to say adieu to a love;
Too many verbal battles.
That was not to be,
Malicious verbal daggers drawn,
Why, O why, couldn’t we go asunder,
I had to say adieu to a love.
Malicious verbal daggers drawn,
In Frieden like civilised people,
I had to say adieu to a love,
At peace with each other.
In V
Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs.
* * *
Book Review By Satis Shroff: Friedrich Holderlin’s Selected Poetry translated by David Constantine
 Friedrich Holderlin’s Selected Poetry translated by David Constantine.
The Swabian poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) was born in Lauffen upon the Neckar on the 20th of March 250 years ago. He was a German poet and philosopher and was influenced by Hegel and Schelling, and was also an important thinker of German idealism.
The strange and beautiful language of Friedrich Holderlin’s late poems have been recreated by David Constantine in remarkable verse translations. This is a new expanded edition of Constantine’s Hölderlin Selected Poems (1990/1996) have been widely praised, containing many new translations as well as the whole of Hölderlin’s Sophocles (2001). Here the English translator has tried to create an equivalent English for Hölderlin’s extraordinary German recreations of the classic Greek verse plays. It might be mentioned that Constantine won the European Poetry Translation Prize in 1997 for his translations of Hölderlin.
He was the son of an estates bailiff, who died when Friedrich was barely two years old. His mother then married mayor Gock of Nürtingen, who died five years later. At that time Hölderlin was 9 years old.
It was decided that Friedrich should take the priest’s profession because he was a gifted boy. At the age of 16 he received a state scholarship for a cloister school, a place known for Catholic drill, order and discipline. In short, a performance system. He knew he had to arrange himself in this system.
Friedrich became melancholic and quiet. He wrote letters and poems. It was in Maulbronn where he began to write poems. ‘Ich dulde es nicht mehr ‘ wrote Friedrich as the cloister school became too much with him.
Tübingen: Hölderlin belonged to the elite of the mind: : theology, philology and philosophy were his subjects in Tübingen. He shared his room with two other students: Hegel and Schelling. Hölderlin wrote: ‘How can we create a world that d egoism and individual interests? He demanded to be one with everything that lives. A utopia in which art plays a significant role.
In Tübingen thinking was trained. He developed the idea of a free human being, despite the restrictions of society. Freedom had to be realized. No power for anyone. He couldn’t imagine that he could and experience history in his days in the town of Tübingen. He wrote hymns to Nature; Tübinger Hymns and for him poetry was a service to society, to change the people. And on how to exist.
At the age of 23 Friedrich Hölderlin left Tübingen and took a position as a house-teacher of a noble family with high expectations.
In 1802 he made a journey to Bordeaux. France where the French Revolution had taken place in 1689. The storm of the Bastille was the beginning of a new time and a new human being due to the French Revolution. The people got up at last against the tyranny of the rich.
Meanwhile, in Germany there were still the noble families in power. The French troops had crossed the Rhine and entered Germany.
Holderlin was 22 at this time in the Tübingen Stift. In 1793 Friedrich Hölderlin completed his Tübenger Seminary and due to Schiller’s mediation, he became the private tutor of the son of Frau von Kalb at Waltershausen. The parents of the boy found that their son Fritz used to masturbate, which was then regarded almost as a sin. Hölderlin was fired through no fault of his. It was there that the poet started writing a novel with a Greek setting — Hyperion (1797–99). Friedrich wrote at that time: ‘Why do I have to be so poor? Help me. Schiller was a Swabian writer and poet who became famous abroad.
He went to Jena in 1794–95 where he contacted Schiller, who gave him small pieces of work but no major projects. Hegel, Schiller and Goethe were his contemporaries and he enjoyed their friendship — except for Goethe. Nevertheless, Hölderlin was in the right place with the prominent thinkers of his time. Friedrich Hölderlin was 20 years younger than Goethe. He crossed paths with Johann Wolfgang Goethe twice in 1797 and 1800 in Stuttgart and Nürtingen. An embarrassing encounter in 1795 at Schiller’s house in Jena during which Hölderlin was with Goethe alone in a room, but the latter didn’t recognize him. Or pretended not to. At the second encounter two years later in Frankfurt, Goethe called Friedrich Hölderlin ‘Hölterlein’ and advised him paternally to write small poems and to choose a human interest object. His heart sank to his feet. The great Goethe was for Hölderlin a trauma.
Later during his tower-days, where Hölderlin lived, he’d wince every time the name Goethe was mentioned by his guests. He wanted to find in Schiller a father-figure, a mentor whom he could look upon for advice and someone who could make a great poet out of him. But Schiller plainly refused with Goethe always towering behind him.
Hölderlin carried out monologues: as a poet of the people he wanted to be one with Nature and human beings, where the thunder lends the voice.
Dotima, a symbolized love: In December 1795 Friedrich Hölderlin took a new post as a tutor in the house of a Frankfurter banker named J.F. Gontard. However, in Frankfurt Hölderlin had the status of a domestic servant and was not allowed to show his ‘Geist,’ his intellect. He had noticed that Susette, the wife of banker was unhappy in her marriage. The two fell in love which gave rise to the Dotima poems. It was here that Friedrich fell in love with Gontard’s young wife Susette, who returned his affections. She became for him an embodiment of the Hellenic ideal, which was symbolized by Diotima, a name he referred to her in his poems and in Hyperion.
Hölderlin developed his characteristic style of poetry in the year 1796. The change is seen in 1797–99 in a tragedy with the title ‘Empedocles.’
In 1798there was a scandal when the banker husband discovered the love affair between Hölderlin and his wife Susetteere was a torntte. Hölderlin got thrown out. The cold and anger can be felt in Hölderlin’s Hyperion II. Here was a broken, torn priest, a thinker. His godly feelings had abandoned him. He felt that his countrymen had no feeling for togetherness and rides rigorously with his own folk.
Hölderlin met Susette secretly and handed her a copy of Hyperion II, a love tragedy. He didn’t see Susette Gontard after 1799. During this time there was a war of conquest and exploitation. Napoleon had come to power like a dictator. He officially ended the French Revolution. Holderlin wrote about the French Revolution in English in 1848–49.
Friedrich wasn’t satisfied with political life in Germany, and he hoped for a Swabian Revolution and had friends among the revolutionaries of his day. He would have been arrested for his contacts with revolutionaries but a friendly physician wrote an attest that he was a psychiatric patient. It was speculated whether the medical diagnosis was only to escape punishment as a revolutionary.
In 1802–1804Friedrich Hölderlin went to his mother in a disturbed mental state. He came under psychiatric treatment in a healing institution. It was like a torture for the poet. The doctors told him he had three years to live, and he was 37 years old. Hölderlin was confined to a tower near the river Neckar, where he spent 36 years of his life with a carpenter master and his daughter.
From his tower he could see the Neckar flowing. Hölderlin was unreachable as far as his command of the German language was concerned. He was a loner and a lover, who wrote poems that broke limits and his poetry broke frontiers. All politicians of his day and even later the Nazis sought something and identified themselves in Hölderlin’s poesie. Even Heidegger mentioned during a lecture on Hölderlin: ‘Goethe ist leeres Reimgeklingel.’ He meant the depth that Hölderlin’s poems had. Societal political ideas of a change, similar to the French Revolution were sought in his verses.
In 1802 Hölderlin became a tutor at Hauptwil, near St.Gall, Swiss Canton Thurgau. Holderlin was in search of a poetic form. It was how own search and he wanted to get hold of the godly fire. Everything was open. After three months in Switzerland, he went back to Germany. After a decade of war, there’s peace again.
Freiburger Autor Satis Shroff : Dichter, MGV-Sänger, Künstler

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