Rolf Dieter Brinkmann
Translated by Mark Terrill
Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-198-1 (paperback, $18); 978-1-60235-199-8 (PDF, $14.99) © 2011 by Parlor Press. 221 pages, in English and German.
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What Others Are Saying
- “Favorites from the Last 10 Years, Selected by Christopher Crawford,” BODY, 8 Aug. 2022. "From Mark Terrill’s incredible book of Brinkmann translations, An Unchanging Blue: Selected Poems 1962-1975, "Some Very Popular Songs" is a work unlike anything else I’ve read.
- Review by Stephan Delbos in The Prague Post: "Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's revolutionary poetry: 'The James Dean of poetry' offers a new bi-lingual collection"
- Stephan Delbos interview Mark Terrill at Colophon: The Prague Post Book Blog
- "I truly respect Brinkmann's perspective, the chopped up lines, the fragmentation, and the Pop Culture references. Any poet that gives you Godzilla and Eva Braun at the same time is a good poet in my book. If you're a fan of experimental poetry, especially the NY School poets, pick this up as Brinkmann was a huge fan of O'Hara and was influenced greatly by Personism." ("Moving" at Amazon, 2014)
About This Book
Rolf Dieter Brinkmann’s radical poetics was unique in postwar German literature. His primary influences were Gottfried Benn, European modernism and the French nouveau roman. In the 1960s these influences were merged with William Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara and Ted Berrigan (the latter two of which Brinkmann translated into German). Brinkmann’s strong affiliation with the New American Poetry provided a reverse-angle, cross-cultural perspective on one of the liveliest epochs in American letters, with a decisively German slant. His permanent confrontation with the postwar German literary establishment (reminding one at times of Jack Spicer and his place in American poetry), and his envelope-pushing experiments with language, syntax and semantics (taken to the extreme in Westwärts 1 & 2), led him further and further away from the literary scene. His confrontational nature and volatile personality were feared at readings, and together with his huge creative output and his early death, earned him a reputation as the “James Dean of poetry,” a true enfant terrible of contemporary letters.
An Unchanging Blue provides a generous sampling of translations (with German originals) taken from ten collections of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann’s poetry published between 1962 and 1975. An extensive introduction by Mark Terrill contextualizes Brinkmann’s place in postwar German literature.
Maybe the only genius in the postwar literature of West Germany. —Heiner Müller
About the Author
Rolf Dieter Brinkmann was born in Vechta, Germany, in 1940, in the midst of World War II, and died in 1975, in London, England, after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. During his lifetime, Brinkmann published nine poetry collections, four short story collections, several radio plays, and a highly acclaimed novel. He also edited and translated two important German-language anthologies of contemporary American poetry (primarily Beat and New York School, for which Brinkmann had a particular affinity), and translated Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems into German, as well as a collection of poems by Ted Berrigan, entitled Guillaume Apollinaire ist Tot. In May, 1975, just a few weeks after his death, Brinkmann's seminal, parameter-expanding poetry collection Westwärts 1 & 2 appeared, which was posthumously awarded the prestigious Petrarca Prize.
About the Translator
Mark Terrill shipped out of San Francisco as a merchant seaman to the Far East and beyond, studied and spent time with Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco, and has lived in Germany since 1984, where he's worked as a shipyard welder, road manager for rock bands, cook and postal worker. His poems, prose, memoirs, criticism and translations have appeared in over 500 literary journals and anthologies worldwide, a dozen chapbooks, several broadsides and three full-length collections, including Kid with Gray Eyes (Cedar Hill Books) and Bread & Fish (The Figures). He recently guest-edited a special German Poetry issue of the Atlanta Review, which includes his translations of Günter Grass, Peter Handke, Nicolas Born and many others. Other collections of his translations have been published by Longhouse and Toad Press. Currently he lives on the grounds of a former shipyard near Hamburg with his wife and a large brood of cats.
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