Translated by David Constantine, Karen Leeder
5 x 8.5 inches, 144pp. September 2014
ISBN : 9780857422187
Rs 495.00 (HB)
Rubble Flora is a selection of poems from the distinguished, half-century-long career of German poet Volker Braun. Born in the former East Germany, Braun is a humane, witty, brave and disappointed poet. In the East, his poetry upheld the voice of the individual imagination and identified with a utopian possibility that never became reality. He might be said to have found a truly singular voice amid the colossal upheavals of 1989—exploring the triumph of capitalism and the languages of advertising, terror, politics and war. At the same time, Braun is a sensual poet in tune with the natural landscape. He has his own touchstones in world literature, and many of his poems set quotations from Rimbaud, Shakespeare and Brecht into his own context, where they work as ironic illuminations of a present plight. The literary principle of his work lies in the friction of these different voices, whether cast into free form, collage or classical verse. Cumulatively, Rubble Flora offers a searing vision of these transformative decades.
Volker Braun was born in Dresden in 1939. Between school and university—a period extended by the authorities to punish him for his political outspokeness—he did various labouring jobs and later read philosophy at the University of Leipzig. He worked as a dramatit and director at the Berliner Ensemble (with Bertolt Brecht's widow Helene Weigel) and the Deutsches Theater. He is the author of numerous plays, novels, volumes of poetry and essays and his prizes include the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize (2000).
David Constantine is a writer and translator who has published several volumes of poetry, a novel and four collections of short stories. He is an editor and translator of Hölderlin, Goethe, Kleist and Brecht. He was the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award in 2010 and the Frank O'Connor Award in 2013.
Karen Leeder is a writer, translator and academic, and teaches German at New College, Oxford.