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Durs Grünbein

Durs Grünbein is a German poet and translator and the author of over twenty books, including Mortal Diamond (Upper West Side Philosophers, 2013) and Ashes for Breakfast (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006). His honors include the Berlin Literature Prize, Georg Büchner Prize, the Peter Huchel Prize for Poetry, the Friedrich Nietzsche Prize, the Premio Internazionale di Poesia Pier Paolo Pasolini, and the Tomas Tranströmer Prize. He splits his time between Berlin and Rome.

By This Poet



Everything continues much as before, especially the war,
But also the daily dressing and undressing. The left and right half
Of the body remained conjoined, and there's still that chasm
Between reflection and self. And people kill and breed
Not just out of desperation, but to pass the time.

Poets, so they tell us, are awkward customers
Not up to much. Even laughter has a keener, full-throated edge
When they're not around. They're not very amusing.

After hymning evil and violence in six long cycles,
Lauttéamont the scorpion wheeled around.
His magnum opus on good remained a pious sketch.

Baudelaire, prepared to saw through his throat with a blunt knife
When the first broadsheet newspaper was printed,
Thought, not for the last time, the end of poetry was nigh.