Lea Menges, poet on the wire

News

10/10/17

Student in the second year of psychology, Lea Menges has published her first collection of poems, taken from her blog. Spontaneous texts, inspired by the daily life of a young girl of her age, criss-crossed with emotions and questions.

Like her French, which reveals slight hesitations and inaccuracies, Lea Menges reveals a certain fragility, which she accepts lurks behind her quiet assurance. "Since I arrived in France, I have matured a lot and I have learned to overcome my shyness. It was just two years ago, for a civic service in medical care centre, in Illkirch. Lea had just passed her A level equivalent, or rather her Abitur, in Mannheim, where she grew up. The young German still remembers her arrival in Alsace, with stars in the eyes. "It was a great experience, humanly speaking!" A year of learning marked by founding meetings, which she decided to extend by enrolling in the Faculty of Psychology of Strasbourg. "Everything is linked: the choice of this discipline, and the fact that it was when I arrived in France that I began to write." It was her meeting with her Munich correspondent, online, who first decided to share her texts, on her own blog.

On her mobile phone, in the street ...

A year ago, she took her courage in both hands and contacted a small German publishing house, Aphaia. I thought,"Why not?" As a way of convincing oneself that you have the right to dare. It so happens that the publishing house was seeking to open its collection of works of poetry to young authors. "I arrived at the right time!" A happy coincidence that brings Lea's odes to stand alongside the work of the Lithuanian poetess Aldona Gustas, published in the same collection. "It's a real stroke of luck and I am proud, because I am a great reader of her texts that are delivered sometimes with brutal honesty," says Lea, who not only writes but also reads a lot of poetry in German, French and English .

"Writing is as natural to me as breathing"It is only once certain that her poems would be published that Lea decided to share them with her family. "One morning, at breakfast, my grandmother read some to my grandfather. When they then told me that my texts had touched them, I was very moved because we are not of the same generation and do not have the same way of life. I must have succeeded in touching something universal. The experience common to all, which inspires her most, is that of love. The chaos of feelings at the time of the encounter with love, but also of breakup. "A way for me to exteriorise, but also to showcase beautiful encounters. Written in her mother tongue, German, Lea's poetic prose is instinctive and spontaneous, often "captured on my laptop, in the street, when the inspiration is there." Daily writing, which in fact brings her closer to her idea of poetry that is "accessible, that would go well with a cup of coffee".

Lea evokes "writing as a need as natural as that of breathing." So, since her arrival in France, she began to dream in French, it was logical to venture her pen onto the side of her "language of my heart, the one I chose".

She hopes, through her blog and her modest collection of 150 copies, to "encourage everyone to read poetry," Lea expresses a wish: "Do not be afraid to express your feelings, whatever the form it takes!"

Elsa Collobert

Here is a poem by Lea Menges in German and her French translation, as well as an excerpt from one of her poems in French, to be found in full on her blog.