As well as being Germany’s most important poet, Hans Magnus Enzensberger is a provocative cultural essayist and one of Europe’s leading political thinkers. No British poet can match him in his range of interests and his moral passion. Enzensberger is a cultured, learned, widely knowledgeable man, but his poems wear their knowledge, learning and culture very lightly.
Perfectly at ease in a variety of poetic forms, he presents us again and again with things that matter. This is intelligent and pointed poetry in the tradition of Brecht, humanely political and generously engaged. The poems have the ease and the lightness of real mastery.
They are moral in their insistence that human life can be lived well or badly, that it is up to us to choose well and to act wisely. Enzensberger is now writing with an increasing awareness of mortality, yet addresses social and political dangers and evils with undiminished urgency. This is a dual language edition expanding Enzensberger’s earlier Bloodaxe Selected Poems with work from his later collections Kiosk, Lighter Than Air and A History of Clouds.
The translations are by Enzensberger himself and by Michael Hamburger, David Constantine and Esther Kinsky.
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