For the Dying Calves

Durs Grünbein


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Seagull Books London Ltd
25 March 2022
ISBN: 9780857429544
164 pages

From the publisher

Poetically written and originally given as lectures, this is a moving essay collection from Durs Grunbein.

In his four Lord Weidenfeld Lectures held in Oxford in 2019, German poet Durs Grunbein dealt with a topic that has occupied his mind ever since he began to perceive his own position within the past of his nation, his linguistic community, and his family: How is it possible that history can determine the individual poetic imagination and segregate it into private niches? Shouldn't poetry look at the world with its own sovereign eyes instead?

In the form of a collage or "photosynthesis," in image and text, Grunbein lets the fundamental opposition between poetic license and almost overwhelming bondage to history appear in an exemplary way. From the seeming trifle of a stamp with the portrait of Adolf Hitler, he moves through the phenomenon of the "Fuhrer's streets" and into the inferno of aerial warfare. In the end, Grunbein argues that we are faced with the powerlessness of writing and the realization, valid to this day, that comes from confronting history. As he muses, "There is something beyond literature that questions all writing."