Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $21.00
  • Save: $5.32 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Ashes for Breakfast: Sele... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Item is in very good condition. Overall book and interior pages are very clean. Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems Paperback – January 24, 2006


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.68
$7.99 $5.44

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$15.68 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems + Descartes' Devil: Three Meditations
Price for both: $35.34

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

Ashes for Breakfast is a brilliantly layered book [that] never becomes repetitive thanks to its almost organic sensibility . . . Grünbein's poems read as if the forces of history pressing in on the present drove them into this world. (Melanie Rehak, The New York Times Book Review)

Intelligently translated . . . Despite the portentous and ubiquitous death knells sounded by many cultural critics, poetry is doing just fine, and for anyone in need of evidence, the work of Durs Grünbein should suffice . . . Grünbein is a vital new voice in the world of poetry . . . Like Joseph Brodsky, to whom he is often compared, he is a serious and focused poet whose work has a depth that deserves our attention. If given the chance, this momentous volume will offer many pleasures. (David Hellman, San Francisco Chronicle)

Grünbein is a truly cosmopolitan poet . . . [He is] creating poetry which, however subtly, participates in and facilitates Germany's sustained attempts of reconfiguring and redefining itself in post-Cold War Europe. (Michael Eskin, The Times Literary Supplement)

[Grünbein's] poems have a nonchalant grace, and shine against their setting of Stalinoid concrete, drabness and dreck. What makes them especially appealing are their volatile shifts of perspective, a sardonic wit and the way they seem to limn out a whole series of potential directions . . . The unhoused quality of these poems has found as permanent and well-constructed a home in English as anyone . . . could wish. (James McKendrick, The Times Literary Supplement)

Younger by five to ten years than most of the poets once gathered loosely around the former Prenzlauer Berg 'scene' in East Berlin, Durs Grünbein . . . has emerged as one of the most visible, prolific, and intellectually serious poets of that generation. Unlike some of his peers, who seem to have become disoriented by reunification--e.g., Uwe Kolbe and Bert Papenfuß-Gorek--Grünbein has consistently worked to develop his own idiom and poetic identity. (Neil H. Donahue, World Literature Today)

Durs Grünbein is one of the most intelligent poets writing in German today. His subject is nothing less than 'this life, so useless, so rich.' It is wonderful to have his selected poems in Michael Hofmann's note-perfect translation. (John Ashbery)

Grünbein is a highly original poet, an heir to the riches of German and European Modernism. What's striking in this poetry is a hard, almost cynical tone which turns out to be just a lid on a jar containing many substances. (Adam Zagajewski)

Born in Dresden in 1962, when the city was under East Germany's Communist rule, Grünbein has established himself as the leading poetic voice of unified Germany after the fall of the Wall in 1990. A gifted poet and clever scavenger of various literary traditions, he picks through the linguistic debris of European culture to mold his findings into well-metered and often deeply captivating verse. Packed into this selection, which has been culled from collections published between 1988 and 1999, are electrifying insights into Germany's effort to understand its role in the world today. Grünbein's predominantly unrhymed, formal poems run on the alternating currents of present-day Germany's giddiness at having no greater responsibilities than any other nation and the country's equally overwhelming grief at having so horribly squandered its potential for prominence. With wit and psychological acumen, Grünbein's poems at their best transform the specificity of this peculiarly German dilemma into a general, human concern . . . Hofmann . . . locates suitable equivalents to Grünbein's virtuoso act of laying down multiple verbal tracks in the briefest lines to startling effect. (Library Journal)

Review

"Ashes for Breakfast is a brilliantly layered book [that] never becomes repetitive thanks to its almost organic sensibility . . . Grünbein's poems read as if the forces of history pressing in on the present drove them into this world." —Melanie Rehak, The New York Times Book Review

"Intelligently translated . . . Despite the portentous and ubiquitous death knells sounded by many cultural critics, poetry is doing just fine, and for anyone in need of evidence, the work of Durs Grünbein should suffice . . . Grünbein is a vital new voice in the world of poetry . . . Like Joseph Brodsky, to whom he is often compared, he is a serious and focused poet whose work has a depth that deserves our attention. If given the chance, this momentous volume will offer many pleasures." —David Hellman, San Francisco Chronicle

"Grünbein is a truly cosmopolitan poet . . . [He is] creating poetry which, however subtly, participates in and facilitates Germany's sustained attempts of reconfiguring and redefining itself in post-Cold War Europe." —Michael Eskin, The Times Literary Supplement

"[Grünbein's] poems have a nonchalant grace, and shine against their setting of Stalinoid concrete, drabness and dreck. What makes them especially appealing are their volatile shifts of perspective, a sardonic wit and the way they seem to limn out a whole series of potential directions . . . The unhoused quality of these poems has found as permanent and well-constructed a home in English as anyone . . . could wish." —James McKendrick, The Times Literary Supplement
 
"Younger by five to ten years than most of the poets once gathered loosely around the former Prenzlauer Berg 'scene' in East Berlin, Durs Grünbein . . . has emerged as one of the most visible, prolific, and intellectually serious poets of that generation. Unlike some of his peers, who seem to have become disoriented by reunification—e.g., Uwe Kolbe and Bert Papenfuß-Gorek—Grünbein has consistently worked to develop his own idiom and poetic identity." —Neil H. Donahue, World Literature Today

"Durs Grünbein is one of the most intelligent poets writing in German today. His subject is nothing less than 'this life, so useless, so rich.' It is wonderful to have his selected poems in Michael Hofmann's note-perfect translation." —John Ashbery

"Grünbein is a highly original poet, an heir to the riches of German and European Modernism. What's striking in this poetry is a hard, almost cynical tone which turns out to be just a lid on a jar containing many substances." —Adam Zagajewski
 
"Born in Dresden in 1962, when the city was under East Germany's Communist rule, Grünbein has established himself as the leading poetic voice of unified Germany after the fall of the Wall in 1990. A gifted poet and clever scavenger of various literary traditions, he picks through the linguistic debris of European culture to mold his findings into well-metered and often deeply captivating verse. Packed into this selection, which has been culled from collections published between 1988 and 1999, are electrifying insights into Germany's effort to understand its role in the world today. Grünbein's predominantly unrhymed, formal poems run on the alternating currents of present-day Germany's giddiness at having no greater responsibilities than any other nation and the country's equally overwhelming grief at having so horribly squandered its potential for prominence. With wit and psychological acumen, Grünbein's poems at their best transform the specificity of this peculiarly German dilemma into a general, human concern . . . Hofmann . . . locates suitable equivalents to Grünbein's virtuoso act of laying down multiple verbal tracks in the briefest lines to startling effect." —Library Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374530130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374530136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,788,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RJ on March 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ashes for Breakfast, a selection from five of German poet Durs Grünbein's books from 1988-2002, is Grünbein's English debut and the first major poetry translation by the German-born British poet, critic, and translator Michael Hofmann. In his preface, Hofmann confesses that he avoided poems that rhymed or were "too skillful, too euphoric, and too rhetorical," picking instead those poems which fit his "line" and corresponded to his own "idiosyncrasy and distinctiveness." Thus, if the facing German and English pages of Ashes for Breakfast does not give us all of Grünbein, it does let us listen to an on-going conversation between two estimable, brooding, brilliant poets and friends.

Grünbein's landscapes are forbidding, empty, and confining; places stained or haunted by traces of the dead; cages or coffins one isn't sure one wants to leave, or can. Written inside and outside the Berlin Wall, his poems move from the restrictions of a repressive state to the vast endless, pointless entertainments of capitalism. Though Hofmann and Grünbein share an affection for Joseph Brodsky, it is perhaps Gottfried Benn one hears most. If Grünbein lacks Benn's callousness--the doctor pulling gold teeth from corpses to finance his whoring--there is the sense that humanity's best days are over. Like Benn, Grünbein finds nothing transcendental in the world's depravities, but he forces himself to see them. In the sequence "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Border Dog," Grünbein writes,

Being a dog is this and that, taking instructions from garbage heaps,
A knuckle sandwich for dinner, mud orgasms.
Being a dog is whatever happens next, randomness
The mother of boredom and incomprehension.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Skyler Morgan on February 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hoffman ranges from brilliant to atrocious in his translation work that I've read, but the poems are consistently fantastic in German. Translating poems is nearly as difficult as writing them, and Hoffman's efforts are valiant enough to forgive a lot. Grünbein's poetry is a present sent from Germany with love.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Grünbein is an intellectual and witty poet whose work has a very contemporary feel. The translations by Michael Hofmann stand as strong poems in their own right and the Translator's Preface shows clear insight into the task of the translator.

Here's the beginning of one section of "Ashes for Breakfast: Thirteen Fantasies" (p. 217):

And why, you ask yourself (why being the most childish of questions),
Why am I involved in this rat race on bartered ground,
Where these weaklings are kicking around a dead pigeon.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By rc on June 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I don't read German, so I can't comment on the translation.

However Michael Hoffman's English versions are worth reading in their own right.

Wonderful poems.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems
This item: Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems
Price: $15.68
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?