Life and career
Durs Grünbein was born in Dresden. He studied theater in Berlin, where he had been living as a freelance writer since 1987.
He debuted in 1988 with a small book of poems, titled Grauzone morgens. In 1991 he published his second small book of poems, the Schädelbasislektion .
In 2005, he held the position of Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. Since 2006, Grünbein is a visiting professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. In 2009, he was a poet in residence at the Villa Massimo in Rome. He has been living in Rome since 2013.
Grünbein has published several essay collections and new translations of plays from antiquity, among them Aeschylus' The Persians, and Seneca's Thyestes. Some of his works, which includes contributions to catalogues and a libretto for opera, have been translated into several languages. He has been a regular contributor to Frau und Hund - Zeitschrift für kursives Denken, edited by the academy's rector, the painter Markus Lüpertz.
After the opening of the Wall and the reunification of East and West Germany, there was an increased interest to publish young writers from former East Germany. Grünbein received critical respect for his Schädelbasislektion (Scull base lecture), a poetry book with strong and with weak and bad verses, as the literary critic adjugded. The poems were described as talking about how someone can manage not to become insane in the locked country. The best poems succeeded this motif with a specious intensity, the bad poems were full of empty statements" because of the author’s compulsion for French theorists of simulation, as the critic warned.
Initially welcomed by the German publicist Frank Schirrmacher as the first genuine voice of the new republik, he later declared a lot of Grünbein’s poetry as mere clichés of clichés. Even former admirers, like the critic Ernst Osterkamp, changed their view little by little into a harsher position. Osterkamp criticized Grünbein’s poetry book "Aroma" as a "highfaluting talk of Roman trivialities and banalities with stilted little finger, as if they were precious items". In 2012, Fritz J. Raddatz, influential literary critic in Germany, wrote that Grünbein succeeded sometimes in writing quite remarkable poems but not in an acceptable poetic work, and called the poet himself a versifying washout, who squanders his given talent.
- Grauzone morgens (1988), ISBN 3-518-13330-6
- Schädelbasislektion (1991), ISBN 3-518-40375-3
- Falten und Fallen (1994), ISBN 3-518-40570-5
- Den teuren Toten (1994), ISBN 3-518-40629-9
- Strophen für Übermorgen, ISBN 3-518-41908-0
- Nach den Satiren (1999), ISBN 3-518-41028-8
- Erklärte Nacht (2002), ISBN 3-518-41305-8
- Vom Schnee (2003), ISBN 3-518-41455-0
- Der Misanthrop auf Capri (2005), ISBN 3-518-22394-1
- Porzellan. Poem vom Untergang meiner Stadt (2005), ISBN 3-518-41722-3
- Aroma (2010), ISBN 9783518421673
- Koloss im Nebel (2012 ), ISBN 9783518423165
- Galilei vermisst Dantes Hölle und bleibt an den Maßen hängen. Aufsätze 1989-1995 (1996), ISBN 3-518-40758-9
- Das erste Jahr. Berliner Aufzeichnungen (2001), ISBN 3-518-41277-9
- Warum schriftlos leben. Aufsätze (2003), ISBN 3-518-12435-8
- Antike Dispositionen (2005),
- Die Bars von Atlantis. Eine Erkundigung in vierzehn Tauchgängen (2009), ISBN 3-518-12598-2
- Cyrano oder Die Rückkehr vom Mond (2014), ISBN 9783518424155
Books in English translation
- Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems, (translated in 2005 by Michael Hofmann) (shortlisted for the 2006 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
- Descartes' Devil: Three Meditations (translated by Anthea Bell; published by Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc., New York, 2010)
- The Bars of Atlantis: Selected Essays. (edited and with an introduction by Michael Eskin; published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2010)
- The Vocation of Poetry (translated by Michael Eskin; published by Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc., New York, 2011)
- Mortal Diamond: Poems (translated by Michael Eskin; published by Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc., New York, 2013)
- Michael Eskin: Poetic Affairs: Celan, Grünbein, Brodsky. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.
- Michael Eskin/Karen Leeder/Christopher Young (eds.): Durs Grünbein. A Companion. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2013. ISBN 978-3-11-022794-9
- Durs Grünbein Profile Villa Massimo in Rome. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- Cf. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28. 03. 1992. BuZ, p. 5.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09. 05. 1995.
- Quoted after Fritz. J. Raddatz. Nicht Entwurf der Moderne, sondern Faltenwurf der Mode.(Not creation of modernity, but pleated fabric) in: Die Zeit, No. 39, 22.09.1995
- Cf. Ernst Osterkamp, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 22.10.2010
- Cf. Fritz. J. Raddatz: Durs Grünbein — die dichtende Luftnummer. In: Die Welt 21.08.2012
- Büchner Preis List of Recipients. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- Peter Huchel Preis. Introduction and Recipients. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist 2006 Biography, including audio and video clips
- Profile on Germany - Poetry International Web site
- Durs Grünbein at the complete review
- Why Live Without Writing: Unpopular answers to poetry questions Essay, February 2010 at the Poetry Foundation website
-  Doctrine of Photography, translated by Karen Leeder 2017 at the Poetry Foundation website