There is not, in the history of Spanish poetry, a great history of interest in German poetry: even in what was perhaps the moment of maximum influence, during Romanticism, it was taken in a somewhat derogatory way (remember that of the ” Germanic sighs” applied to Bécquer, in immortal chufla by Núñez de Arce).

If we leave out monuments such as Hölderlin, Rilke, Brecht or Celan, the truth is that Germanic poetry has not had a great presence either in the form of influences or very careful reading, and moments as rich as that of expressionism (Benn, Trakl, Heym, but not only: Edicions de 1984 published years ago, in Catalan, the monumental anthology-document by Kurt Pinthus El crepuscle de la humanitat) have been passing as a curiosity for specialists. It is therefore not surprising that Cecilia Dreymüller begins her prologue to this anthology that we are now commenting on by stating: “It has been almost forty years since a panoramic anthology that attempts to account for the state of the art of poetry in the German language has been published in Spain.” Perhaps it may be more striking that he explicitly renounces filling that void in favor of “an album of favorite poems” that leaves out essential authors of contemporary German poetry such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger or Durs Grünbein. She does it because “his works don’t need this kind of diffusion.” But by Grünbein, for example, two books were published in Spain at the beginning of the century, unfindable for a long time, in a defunct publishing house: La poesía, señor hidalgo. It does include, however, the Nobel laureate Herta Müller, little suspected of being unknown; or to Michael Krüger, of whom there are more recent translations. Not a word, however, about Peter Handke, author of what is perhaps the most famous and influential poem in recent German literature, the Poem to Duration. Among the other absences, we could mention Ingeborg Bachmann (born in 1926, a couple of years after the first anthologized), Reiner Kunze or Ernst Jandl, published here by Arrebato, although his partner, Friederike Mayröcker, is included. The selection is equal (14 women and 13 men) and half of the authors included were born after 1969, the youngest being 1993. There is a certain fondness for poems with Spanish landscapes: Cádiz, Madrid, A Coruña… about Peter Handke, author of what is perhaps the most famous and influential poem in recent German literature, the Poem to Duration. Other absences include Ingeborg Bachmann (born in 1926, a couple of years after the first anthology), Reiner Kunze or Ernst Jandl, published here by Arrebato, although her partner, Friederike Mayröcker, is included. The selection is equal (14 women and 13 men) and half of the authors included were born after 1969, the youngest being 1993. There is a certain fondness for poems with Spanish landscapes: Cádiz, Madrid, A Coruña… about Peter Handke, author of what is perhaps the most famous and influential poem in recent German literature, the Poem to Duration. Other absences include Ingeborg Bachmann (born in 1926, a couple of years after the first anthology), Reiner Kunze or Ernst Jandl, published here by Arrebato, although her partner, Friederike Mayröcker, is included. The selection is equal (14 women and 13 men) and half of the authors included were born after 1969, the youngest being 1993. There is a certain fondness for poems with Spanish landscapes: Cádiz, Madrid, A Coruña… a couple of years after the first anthology), to Reiner Kunze or Ernst Jandl, published here by Arrebato, although his partner, Friederike Mayröcker, is included. The selection is equal (14 women and 13 men) and half of the authors included were born after 1969, the youngest being 1993. There is a certain fondness for poems with Spanish landscapes: Cádiz, Madrid, A Coruña… a couple of years after the first anthology), to Reiner Kunze or Ernst Jandl, published here by Arrebato, although his partner, Friederike Mayröcker, is included. The selection is equal (14 women and 13 men) and half of the authors included were born after 1969, the youngest being 1993. There is a certain fondness for poems with Spanish landscapes: Cádiz, Madrid, A Coruña.

This, then, is not an anthology of German poetry: whoever looks for an overview of the German poetry of the last decades in it will not find it. Nor, as we have seen, did he intend to. It collects, yes, a wide list of poets of that language, translated with solvency by Dreymüller herself and Teresa Ruiz Rosas. And she does it by offering us abundant and pleasant surprises. The selection starts with the aforementioned Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021). Her experimental tone may seem a little naive to us today, but a poem like ‘What do you need’ justifies her inclusion in any anthology. The initially somewhat pastoral tone of Jürgen Becker (1932-2021) ends up becoming an elegy for a disappearing world. The poetics of Elke Erb (1938) is an invitation to ethics: “Go on, get on the ice floe: things are clear, / leave the non-place, get on the ice floe and then / the next one after the aforementioned first / (things are clear). Change / your own position, there / where you are / there are no conclusions”. The poetry of Volker Braun (1939) has aged worse, halfway between graffiti and collage, a bit naive when read today. Michael Krüger (1943) is perhaps the best known internationally of those included in the book, the closest to the European poets of his generation in other latitudes. Klaus Merz (1945) synthesizes the heritage of Celan and Japanese aesthetics: “The news of walking / walking upright / slow spreads in / the cosmos. // You lay your head / on the neck / in the kitchen the / daughter turns off the light” (‘Vía Láctea’). there / where you are / there are no conclusions”. The poetry of Volker Braun (1939) has aged worse, halfway between graffiti and collage, a bit naive when read today. Michael Krüger (1943) is perhaps the best known internationally of those included in the book, the closest to the European poets of his generation in other latitudes. Klaus Merz (1945) synthesizes the heritage of Celan and Japanese aesthetics: “The news of walking / walking upright / slow spreads in / the cosmos. // You lay your head / on the neck / in the kitchen the / daughter turns off the light” (‘Vía Láctea’). there / where you are / there are no conclusions”. The poetry of Volker Braun (1939) has aged worse, halfway between graffiti and collage, a bit naive when read today. Michael Krüger (1943) is perhaps the best known internationally of those included in the book, the closest to the European poets of his generation in other latitudes. Klaus Merz (1945) synthesizes the heritage of Celan and Japanese aesthetics: “The news of walking / walking upright / slow spreads in / the cosmos. // You lay your head / on the neck / in the kitchen the / daughter turns off the light” (‘Vía Láctea’). the closest to the European poets of his generation in other latitudes. Klaus Merz (1945) synthesizes the heritage of Celan and Japanese aesthetics: “The news of walking / walking upright / slow spreads in / the cosmos. // You lay your head / on the neck / in the kitchen the / daughter turns off the light” (‘Vía Láctea’). the closest to the European poets of his generation in other latitudes. Klaus Merz (1945) synthesizes the heritage of Celan and Japanese aesthetics: “The news of walking / walking upright / slow spreads in / the cosmos. // You lay your head / on the neck / in the kitchen the / daughter turns off the light” (‘Vía Láctea’).

As you get closer to the most contemporary, it becomes more difficult to get an idea of ​​the whole and the tone of each poet: a sign of the times. But surprises await us, such as Gerhard Falkner (1951), with poems like ‘Schorfheide’ (“Beauty is born from the force of affirming it, / a will must unite it with thought, it is not / found in the depths of what exists”), Kurt Drawert or Michael Donhauser (both from 1956) or, among the youngest, Nadja Küchenmeister (1981), and confirmations such as Herta Müller (1953): “The cherry will not change / nothing nor / the fricative sound nor / sugar at home nor the / varnish on the scalp. She is / a foreigner believe me / only her skin is from here”.

The task of presenting a good panoramic anthology of German poetry of the last century is therefore pending. But this exhibition, the result of the whim of a good connoisseur of that lyric and two excellent translators, shows what a good anthologist whim is: it abounds in congratulations and clues to continue reading. A window to a poetry that is less known than it should be, done with pleasure and more pretense of reading pleasure than philology, something always to be appreciated. It would be an exceptional starting point for that anthology that Dreymüller misses so much and that would come to fill an incomprehensible gap in a publishing world, that of our poetry, so given to the translation of the most exotic lyrics.