Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Twentieth-Century German Poetry

Twentieth-Century German Poetry

An Anthology

Edited by Michael Hofmann

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


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This groundbreaking anthology will serve as the standard for years to come. Editor Michael Hofmann has assembled brilliant translations of the major German poets, from Rilke and Brecht to Durs Grunbein and Jan Wagner, in an approachable, readable, and endlessly interesting collection. Here we find poetry as a living counter-force to socio-political reality; poetry of dissent and fear and protest; poetry of private griefs and musics. From the subtlety and elegance of Brecht, to the extraordinary jargon-glooms of Gottfried Benn, to the oblique and straightforward responses to the country's villainous history, to the bitter, cleansed, and haunted poetry of the postwar years, the anthology ends with a reunified country looking at itself and its neighbors in new ways. This is an essential and timely collection of verse from a tumultuous, violent, tragic, and hopeful century, written in the language of those who were at the heart of the matter.


Praise for Twentieth-Century German Poetry

“Michael Hofmann's eclectic and inspiring anthology is going to be a touchstone for readers like myself of European poets whose works, even though known to us only in translation, have formed an essential element of our contemporary sensibility. There is a special pleasure in finding among his choices translations that one has responded to intensely in comparison with others collected over the years--in my case, for example, J.B. Leishman's version of Rilke's 'Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.' And there's the fresh interest of discovering translations never before come across, of poems thought of as finally known. The German originals side-by-side are a stimulus to us, the lovers of words. Though one doesn't know the language, these are words whose mouthed cadence makes itself understood in enhancement of the English word and phrase. A wonderful source to return to, again and again.” —Nadine Gordimer

“Except for a few famous names, modern German poetry is sadly unknown to most Anglophone readers. Poet Michael Hoffman and his team of gifted poet/translators have done much to right the situation with this brilliant and amazing collection.” —John Ashbery

“Michael Hofmann has a skeptical intelligence, an observant eye, a compulsion to speak the unspeakable, and the useful wariness of the displaced person.” —Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Edited by Michael Hofmann

The noted poet Michael Hofmann has translated many German-language authors, among them Ernst Junger, Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Koeppen, and Joseph Roth. Ashes for Breakfast, a translation of Durs Grunbein, was published by FSG in 2005. He lives in London.

Michael Hofmann

Thomas Andenmatten © Stiftung Leuk

Michael Hofmann

Read the author's articles in the Guardian

Visit the author's faculty page

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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