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Twentieth-Century German Poetry: An Anthology Hardcover – November 28, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This handsome, hearty, duel-language volume will vastly expand what most American readers know of contemporary German poetry: maybe some Rilke, Celan or Brecht and probably little else. From a whimsy by the artist Paul Klee to a strange piece by young poet Jan Wagner connecting a scientist's electrical experiments on himself to frogs "transmitting the new codeword to each other," this anthology's pleasures are many. Well-known poet and translator Hofman gathers a varied range of poems from the German canon—better-known poets and writers like Rilke, Georg Trakl, Brecht, Celan and Günter Grass, meet many poets who deserve a larger following outside Germany, like Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Durs Grünbein. Famous poems—like Celan's Holocaust dirge "Deathfugue," with its incantatory repetitions ("Black milk of daybreak we drink it at evening")—join relatively unknown ones, like Heiner Müller's "Brecht," which ends: "When darkness says, I am / Brightness, it does not lie." Hofman also brings together an unlikely host of translators: an often-translated poet like Rilke appears both in C.F. MacIntyre's neat 1940 rendering of "Autumn Day" and in Paul Muldoon's loose 1998 version of "The Unicorn," creating dissonances that underline the vast subjectivity of translation. This is a wonderful introduction to an amazing century of work. (Dec.)
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Review

“Superb . . . This collection is so sterling it makes even a poetry-challenged person appreciate poetry.” —Roger K. Miller, Philadelphia Inquirer
 
"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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374105359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374105358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I believe this text is a great tool for those who want to develop strong reading skills in the German Language. What is particularly keen about using poetry in language learning-
1. It allows for repetition ( which the mother of learning)
2. Self Regulated Learning- You can customize your training, Success is define on your terms.
3. It is Cost Effective - Poetry texts are relatively inexpensive and it is everywhere. Dual Language format works best for beginners
4. Poetry allows for you to explore different authors - Thus finding your own particular taste. You create your own custom vocabulary.
5. It is the most efficient way to learn foreign language if your goal is to become multi-lingual.
6. Poetry is more Organic ( Like growing your Vegetable) it promotes self-reliance/self-sufficiency
7. Use the online dictionary ie. Glosbe or Linquee. Watch your German go thru the roof !
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Format: Paperback
Michael Hofmann offers us a view of what is perhaps the most modern of all major contemporary poetries. Begining with Rilke he offers intellegent selections of the modern classics Trakl, Benn, Brecht and then provdes intreging selections of the generally less well known post war poets such as Huchel, Bobrowski, Eich and Bachmann. Of the two most famous poets of the fifties Celan and Enzensburger the first gets a sensible selection of early poetry while the latter recives a large and to me puzzling selection completely ignoring his beautiful collection Blindescrift and concentrating on rather trivial later poems. Many younger poets are represented though none seem to have voices as distinctive as their elders. All in all it is a fine introduction to one of the great bodies of modern poetry though I do not understand why the very fine poet Horst Bienek is excluded when a number of lesser talents are included. Well worth checking out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this from the UK because the edition published here doesn't include the poems in German. When I was in the US I discovered this edition in a bookshop and ordered another one for a Christmas present for someone else. Both of us are very pleased to have the book. Michael Hoffman is a first rate poet himself and a very good translator.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This anthology provides an excellent introduction to a variety of German poets, both well-known and (at least for me) more obscure. The duel-language format is particularly useful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A revelation!
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