Rolf Dieter Brinkmann

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Rolf Dieter Brinkmann
Born (1940-04-16)April 16, 1940
Vechta, Oldenburg, Germany
Died April 23, 1975(1975-04-23) (aged 35)
London, England
Occupation Poet, novelist

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (April 16, 1940 – April 23, 1975) was a German writer of poems, short stories, a novel, essays, letters, and diaries.

Life and work[edit]

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann is considered an important forerunner of the German so-called Pop-Literatur. He published nine books of poems in the 1960s, dealing with the appearance of the present culture and the sensual experience of active subjectivity. During that period he also wrote Keiner weiß mehr (Nobody knows anymore), a novel of modern family life. His early prose was inspired by the French nouveau roman. The precision of description of this style never left him, but merged in his poetry with influences from Gottfried Benn and William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, and Ted Berrigan. In 1972/73 Brinkmann was a recipient of a fellowship at the German Academy Villa Massimo in Rome. His sensibility and the despair of civilisation permeating Rom, Blicke and the other posthumously published prose writings goes deep. The spring of 1974 he was a visiting lecturer at the German Department of University of Texas at Austin. He was posthumously awarded the Petrarca-Preis in 1975 for his major and highly praised and influential last book of poetry Westwärts 1 & 2 (1975). In 2005 a new expanded edition of this book was published with 26 longer poems finally added as well as a 75 pages long postscript by the author. These parts were reluctantly excluded from the first edition by Brinkmann as the publisher thought the book was too extensive. After a couple of readings at Cambridge Poetry Festival some weeks before the publication of Westwärts 1 & 2, he was instantly killed in a hit-and-run-accident in central London.

Selected works[edit]

English translations[edit]

  • Like a Pilot: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Selected Poems, 1963-1970; translated by Mark Terrill (Sulphur River Literary Review Press, 2001) ISBN 0-9657687-7-5
  • Some Very Popular Songs, one long poem from Westwärts 1 & 2, translated by Mark Terrill (Toad Press, 2010).
  • Under Glass, a foldout broadsheet of 13 poems, translated by Mark Terrill (Longhouse, 2010).
  • An Unchanging Blue, Selected Poems 1962-1975, trans. Mark Terrill (Parlor Press, 2011), 222 p. ISBN 1-60235-198-8


  • John MacKay, Inscription and Modernity: From Wordsworth to Mandelstam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), esp. pp. 28– 34.ISBN 0-253-34749-1


  • Oscar Sundara: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (Serv, 2011, in English) ISBN 613-8-80995-5
  • Theo Breuer: Was Neues im Westen oder Brinkmann macht weiter; in: T.B., Aus dem Hinterland. Lyrik nach 2000 (Edition YE, Sistig/Eifel 2005)

External links[edit]