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The Art of Kunst

Selected Poems, Letters, and Other Writings by Thomas Kunst


Steven D. Martinson

This book introduces for the first time selected poetry, letters, and other writings by the German writer Thomas Kunst (Leipzig) to the English-speaking world. Given the many prestigious awards the writer has received for his poetry and the originality of his imaginative thinking, the Turkish-German writer Feridun Zaimoglu rightly called Kunst a great poet. Through his immersion in the poetry of Paul Celan, Georg Trakl, Nicolas Born, Thomas Brasch, and several South and North American writers, Thomas Kunst has acquired a distinctive voice and style that rival the most talented writers in Germany today. Music animates his creative writing. What he calls the instrumentation between music and language flows almost effortlessly from his experiences in the world, shaping the multifaceted textures of his writings. Readers will be struck by the author’s remarkable clarity of expression, precision, directness, and authenticity. «A poem is a poem for me only when the most ordinary things in it irritate me in the most intense ways.» Inner turbulence over the way things are, outer conflict, and the awareness of the ultimate irresolvability of pressing political concerns, everyday experience, knowledge of the classical heritage, and acute aesthetic sensibility unite to provide a unique and challenging reading experience.
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A Word of Appreciation


We are grateful to Thomas Kunst for permission to translate selected writings from his oeuvre into English. The author requested that we include quite a few poems from his collection, Pick-Up Legends (Legende vom Abholen, 2011). We are happy to have done so. Edition AZUR in Dresden and Edition Rugerup in Hörby, Sweden are to be commended for their publications of Kunst’s poetry, in particular AZUR’s exquisitely designed 2015 edition of Thomas Kunst’s selections of his poetry, Kunst. Thomas Kunst. Gedichte 1984–2014. We thank our colleague, David Chisholm, for sharing several insights into the nature of Kunst’s sonnets. With the present volume, we are pleased to introduce the work of Thomas Kunst to the English-speaking world. We thank the Peter Lang publishing firm for making this possible.

Tucson, September 2015

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