In Romanian, “snowdrops” are “little tears”, in German they are “maiglockhen”, that is “little May bells”, which means we’re not only speaking about different words, but about different worlds. Romanians see a falling star and say that someone has died, with the Germans you make a wish when you see the falling star.
For her collage texts, Herta Muller created a special table for herself and arranged a whole library, ordered alphabetically. The collage very much resembles life, Herta Muller says, as the random plays a crucial role in this respect. You’re looking for a word and come across another, which all of a sudden seems more appropriate, more appealing. Then you paste them on cardboard and the poem is ready, you cannot change anything. That is what Herta Muller likes best about the collage: once made you cannot change any of it, and that’s what brings the collage as close to life as possible. You cannot bring back the past, you cannot wipe away the poem just as you can with an ordinary poem.