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The Art of Kunst

Selected Poems, Letters, and Other Writings by Thomas Kunst

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Edited By 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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V. Self-Interview (Thomas Kunst)

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·V·

SELF-INTERVIEW (THOMAS KUNST)

I started taking violin lessons when I was seven, was lazy as sin, played in our school orchestra, went to a summer music camp for violinists in Lubmin, never practiced. When my father asked me to play for him the piece I was supposed to prepare for my next lesson, I put the sheet music on the stand and made up something to play. That was the beginning of the improvised playing that I later preferred so much. Around age sixteen, I noticed that I wasn’t destined to be a great violinist. I wrote my first poem. From then on I knew that I would change my instrument, even though I still play music today, with the greatest love. Around age fifteen or sixteen I played in a band in Stralsund. We called ourselves Tabula Rasa. We were invited to provide musical accompaniment for a poetry reading by the Stralsund poet Uwe Lummitsch. It was around 1981 or 1982. From then on we met regularly every Wednesday at Lummitsch’s house, drank red wine, listened to Kate Bush*, Theodorakis* and Pankow*. Lummitsch read us poems by Vallejo, Ritsos, Eluard and others. Then I knew that there was no going back. Wednesday became holier and holier. I wanted, needed, and was allowed only to become a poet: yes.

Shortly afterward I showed him the first poems I had written. He was also the one who encouraged me never to...

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