Grünbein, Durs 1962–

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Grünbein, Durs 1962–

PERSONAL: Born 1962, in Dresden, Germany; married Eva Sichelschmidt, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Home—Berlin, Germany. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003.

CAREER: Freelance writer in Berlin, Germany, 1987–.

AWARDS, HONORS: Marburger Literaturpreis, 1993, Georg-Büchner-Preis, 1995, Peter Huchel prize for poetry, 1995, Premio Nonino (Salzburg), 2000, Friedrich-Nietzsche-Literaturpreis (Sachsen-Anhalt), 2004; Friedrich-Hölderlin-Preis (Bad Homburg), 2005; Berliner Literaturpreis, 2006.


Grauzone Morgens: Gedichte (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1988.

Schädelbasislektion: Gedichte (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1991.

Falten und Fallen: Gedichte (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1994.

The Poet and the Poem (sound recording), Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1995.

Den Körper zerbrechen: Rede zur Entgegennahme des Georg-Büchner-Preises 1995, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1995.

Galilei vermisst Dantes Hölle und bleibt an den Massen Hängen: Aufsätze 1989–1995, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1996.

Nach den Satiren (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 1999.

(With others) Archiv der Gesichter: Toten und Lebendmasken aus dem Schiller-Nationalmuseum (essays), Marbach am Neckar (Kassel, Germany), 1999.

(With others) Herausforderung Tier: von Beuys bis Kabakov (essays), Prestel (New York, NY), 2000.

Gehirn und Denken: Kosmos im Kopf, Hatje Cantz (Germany), 2000.

Das erste Jahr: Berliner Aufzeichnungen, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2001.

(With Heinz-Norbert Jocks) Durs Grünbein im Gespräch mit Heinz-Norbert Jocks (interviews), Dumont (Köln, Germany), 2001.

(Translator) Aeschylus, Die Perser, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2001.

Erklärte Nacht: Gedichte (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2002.

(Translator) Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Thyestes, Insel Verlag (Frankfurt, Germany), 2002.

(Translator) Aeschylus, Sieben gegen Theben, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2003.

Vom Schnee, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2003.

Warum schriftlos leben: Aufsätze, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2003.

(Translator) Johannes Maria Staud, Berenice: ein Libretto nach Edgar Allan Poe für eine Oper von Johannes Maria Staud, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2004.

Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.

Der Misanthrop auf Capri: Gedichte (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2005.

Porzellan (poems), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2005.

Antike Dispositionen: Aufsätze 1996–2005 (essays), Suhrkamp (Frankfurt, Germany), 2005.

Author's poetry has been translated into several languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Hungarian.

SIDELIGHTS: Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1962, Durs Grünbein studied theater in Berlin and has lived and worked there as a freelance writer since 1987. He is known as one of the major poets of his generation in Germany, as well as for his translations of classical texts into German from the classical Greek and Latin. Grünbein's first volume of poetry, Grauzone Morgens: Gedichte, was published in 1988, and since that time he has issued numerous volumes as well as several books of essays and translations. In 1995, Grünbein became the youngest writer to be awarded the Georg Büchner prize, the most prestigious literary award in Germany. With Wolfgang Rihm, Grünbein staged the Dresden Requiem at the Dresden State Opera in the fall of 2003. The program depicted the 1945 destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers through eleven prose poems. Grünbein's poetry has been translated into a number of languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Hungarian.

Grünbein's poetry exhibits a strong sense of nationalism along with his own personal style. In a review for World Literature Today, Neil H. Donahue remarked that the writer "has consistently worked to develop his own idiom and poetic identity." Nach den Satiren collects poems that address the emotions of sleep—from the demons that haunt one's dreams to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Francis Michael Sharp, in a review for World Literature Today, observed that, "originating in the language of the body, Grünbein's poems also aim to engage the reader at a somatic level. Although he makes constant reference to literature, myth, and history, these are employed not as ends in themselves but as enhancements of more elemental perceptions." In a review of Falten und Fallen: Gedichte in World Literature Today, Donahue commented that "Grünbein's disillusioned poetry is a dissection of the living corpse of contemporary mankind in an effort to locate in its habits, routines, and reflexes the center of selfhood. Falten und Fallen extends and broadens that analysis with the same edgy and incisive fatalism … and the same echoes and allusions." Speaking generally of Grünbein's work, David Hellman remarked in the San Francisco Chronicle that "the German language has the ability to be precise and vague at the same time, and Grünbein uses this to his full advantage. At one moment his lines read crystal clear and can be translated readily, while at other times they are full of double meanings and compound nouns that are notoriously difficult to translate."

Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems is Grünbein's first volume of poetry to receive wide release in its English translation. The book collects poems from his previous works as a sort of introduction to his style and the way it has evolved. In a review for Library Journal, Ulrich Baer discussed the way his poetry addresses Germany's struggle to find its place in the modern world, and remarked that "Grünbein's poems at their best transform the specificity of this peculiarly German dilemma into a general, human concern."



Library Journal, June 1, 2005, Ulrich Baer, review of Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems, p. 134.

World Literature Today, spring, 1995, Neil H. Donahue, review of Falten und Fallen: Gedichte, p. 353; winter, 2000, Francis Michael Sharp, review of Nach den Satiren, p. 149; April-June, 2003, Rita Terras, review of Erklärte Nacht: Gedichte, p. 133.


American Institute for Contemporary German Studies Web site, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

Bookslut, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

Goethe Institute Web site, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

Guardian Online, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

New York Times Online, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

PEN Center Web site, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."

San Francisco Chronicle Online, (September 22, 2005), "Durs Grünbein."