This is the most comprehensive English translation of the work of Günter Eich, one of the greatest postwar German poets. The author of the POW poem "Inventory," among one of the most famous lyrics in the German language, Eich was rivaled only by Paul Celan as the leading poet in the generation after Gottfried Benn and Bertolt Brecht. Expertly translated and introduced by Michael Hofmann, this collection gathers eighty poems, many drawn from Eich's later work and most of them translated here for the first time. The volume also includes the original German texts on facing pages.
As an early member of "Gruppe 47" (from which Günter Grass and Heinrich Böll later shot to prominence), Eich (1907-72) was at the vanguard of an effort to restore German as a language for poetry after the vitriol, propaganda, and lies of the Third Reich. Short and clear, these are timeless poems in which the ominousness of fairy tales meets the delicacy and suggestiveness of Far Eastern poetry. In his late poems, he writes frequently, movingly, and often wryly of infirmity and illness. "To my mind," Hofmann writes, "there's something in Eich of Paul Klee's pictures: both are homemade, modest in scale, immediately delightful, inventive, cogent."
Unjustly neglected in English, Eich finds his ideal translator here.
"Angina Days, a crisp new selection translated by Michael Hofmann and published in Princeton's 'Facing Pages' series, is an opportunity for Eich to secure at last the English-speaking readership he has long deserved. In the German-speaking world, Eich is widely accepted as a twentieth-century classic, the supreme poet of unease. His poem 'Inventur' ('Inventory') is one of the best known poems in the language. Born in 1907 in Lebus on the Oder, a small village near Berlin, Eich was a member, along with Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, of the Gruppe 47, a literary association 'called into being to cleanse and adjust and simplify' the German language after its abuse by the Third Reich, as Hofmann explains in his excellent introduction. . . . Hofmann's translations in Angina Days have the confidence, clearness and clout to offer Eich salvation from obscurity. . . . Hofmann's new translations are neither cumbersome nor dull. They work as poems independently from the German. They are animated, idiomatic, attractively spry, and above all they allow Eich's voice to reach us loud and clear--peevish, skeptical, true to itself, irresistible."--Siriol Troup, Times Literary Supplement
"Scenes of isolated survival amid bewildering change appear throughout Angina Days, an excellent comprehensive bilingual selection of Eich's poems edited and translated by Michael Hofmann."--John Palattella, Nation
"At last a major portion of the poetry of Günter Eich (1907-1972) has been made accessible to an English-speaking readership in a new translation."--Axel Vieregg, Berlin Review of Books
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