Word Ways


Herbert Pfeiffer is the only currently-active palindromist in West Germany. The following, first published in Neue Texte (an Austrian journal for poetry) in 1983, is believed to be the longest German palindrome ever written. Readers familiar with long English-language palindromes know that they make local sense but shift subject in erratic and unpredictable ways; so it is with "Talk, Nightmare!". The literal translation utterly destroys the spirit of the German original, becoming mere gibberish. I have attempted a free translation of the beginning and end which, I think, conveys the author's desolate message if not his exact words.