Ana Elsner

Ana Elsner

Ana Elsner is a multi-lingual writer, poet, artist and translator born after World War II in the British sector of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany, and longtime resident of the U.S..Elsner, Ana. "Ciphers of Uncommon Origin", p. "About the Poet"]


Early life

In her teens, German-born Ana Elsner lived and attended school in Rochdale, Lancashire, England and subsequently in Concarneau, Bretagne in France as an ambassador for good will among the youth of post-war Europe. This was arranged through a student exchange program established in the 1960s. The aim of this program was to help overcome the carry-over alienation that still existed at that time between Germany and the former Allied Forces member nations England and France. It proved to be an effective tool to broker cross-border friendships for the new generation born after 1945 and a cornerstone of the eventual birth of a Pan-European identity.

Elsner's early experience of living in multi-cultural contexts would greatly influence the course of her life as well as her work as a writer and poet.

Life in the US

In the early 1970s Elsner arrived in Washington, D.C. to attend Georgetown University. Between semesters she explored the East Coast and travelled extensively. Having embraced cultural diversity from adolescence, it was on a visit to New York City that she decided to make her home in the US. After earning her Master’s Degree, she taught ESL (English as a Second Language), worked at two large American publishing houses and successfully adapted herself to various other business enterprises. Now retired, she lives in Northern California.Throughout her life, Elsner never abandoned her bold and creative writing in English, German and, occasionally, in French. She continues to author broad-ranging editorials, literary criticism and poetry, typically with a global and watchful perspective. She also supports a variety of causes as a volunteer and advisor. In addition to writing her own poems, Ana Elsner is translating the poems of Holocaust survivor Paul Celan into English in an ongoing project.cite web | title=Poems by Paul Celan | work=translated by Ana Elsner | url= | accessdate=May 1 | accessyear=2008]

The Poet


As is true for most poets and artists, their creative work is born out of personal empirical experience and perception, either consciously or subconsciously. That is what gives each of them their own unique voice and style. It is also the reason that individual poems speak most to those people, whose life experience is intuitively analogous to that of the poet, i.e., the "smile of recognition". Elsner's multi-culturalism, along with the social, philosophical, and emotional challenges it represents, enables her to transcend the limits of one-dimensionality. It makes for a wider audience in that it reflects a variety of elements shared by people from different backgrounds. In a live internet broadcast Ana Elsner said about her work, "Although often provocative and (self) critical in tone, and neologistic in language, I consider my poems to be ageless, and intellectually and emotionally accessible to a broad and diverse readership."


In addition to the experiential roots of her poetry, other outside influences shaped Ana Elsner's poetic voice. From the haunting and conflicted language of [ Paul Celan] , the multilayered political satire of Mikhail Bulgakov - [ Михаил Афанасьевич Булгаков] , the spontaneity and non-conformism of the Beat poets and the fervor of feminism, to the urgent call for ecological and humanitarian responsibility and the passionate outcry against civil rights and human rights violations worldwide, all of these resonate in Elsner's poems and compel further thought. As San Francisco street-poet turned Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman put it, "The rage comprised in the intellectual landscapes of Ana Elsner's lonely journey in poetic form disparages war and injustice with cries for the rebirth of human dignity and compassion."


:The three halves of

:my deconstructed zen

:still only make up one full measure of

:my desperate protestations

:of unflagging prejudice against

:my wholly-owned subsidiary of

:our perfectly



:© Ana Elsner . Elsner, Ana. "All Poems Actual Size, a collection of new poems by Ana Elsner", manuscript (excerpt furnished by the author)]


In the spirit of artistic freedom and innovation, modern poet Ana Elsner originated a new and unique form of contemporary English language haiku. She coined the term "moku", short for "modified haiku", in order to describe her own characteristic 3 liners which are based on haiku, but do not conform to the traditional 17 syllable format. Elsner further breaks with haiku tradition in that her imagery is not necessarily based on nature. Instead, her mokus often treat with urban areas and concerns, or shine the spotlight on a specific object, character or state of mind.

:Moku Number Nine

:screeching siren ambulance

:rents in half congested one way street

:canyon of uncertain fate

:© Ana Elsner


Ana Elsner has given solo readings as the featured poet on live Internet radio and podcasts. She is a frequent featured poet at public and private poetry venues. See Academy of American Poets - [ view event.] Ana Elsner is at home at the San Francisco Public Library and has featured as the invited poet at many [ "library-sponsored literary events".]

Notes and References


* "Ciphers Of Uncommon Origin - Poems By Ana Elsner", InstaPLANET Press - Language Maker Poetry Series, 2007; San Francisco Public Library, SFPL Main, Library Catalog, Call No. [ 811.54EL77p]

Literary Directories and Memberships

* Ana Elsner is a [ Red Room Author] .
* [ Listed Poet] in "The Directory of American Poets and Writers", published by Poets & Writers Org., NY, NY
* Member, "BAPC", a 501(c)(3) non-profit poets coalition in Northern California, established in 1974

Literary Collections, Projects and Anthologies

* Ana Elsner was selected to be a part of [ The Other Voices International Project] .
* Ana Elsner's poems are published in "PRIVATE - International Review of Poetry and Photography", "Crossing Boundaries"," Spring 2008 Castel Bolognese, Italy; in the "BEATITUDE 1959-2009 Golden Anniversary Issue", edited by Latif Harris and Neeli Cherkovski;

Galleries and Exhibitions

* Live Worms Gallery - A Progressive San Francisco Art Gallery; Group show "The 5th Annual PanOptic Exhibition"; pen & watercolour paintings on paper by Ana Elsner

Documentary Film Footage

* Year: 2008; Location: San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, CA, USA; Type: event coverage; Title: [ "Poet Ana Elsner performs live at City Hall"] ; Length of clip 04:28

ee also

* List of poets
* List of German language poets
* List of English language poets
* List of poets from the United States

External links

* [ "The Intervention Rhapsody"] from "Ciphers Of Uncommon Origin - Poems By Ana Elsner"
* [ "Forgetting Eyes"] , poem by Ana Elsner, published in "Crossing Boundaries", PRIVATE International Review
* [ Poetry Translations by Ana Elsner]
* [ Ana Elsner pays tribute to "Tony Vaughan"]
* [ "Dawn"] by Ana Elsner (via "Thin Air")
* [ "Moku Number Five"] , an example of Ana Elsner's "modified haiku"
* [ Ana Elsner on Bill Moyers Journal] , PBS

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