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The Garden of Theophrastus

Selected Poems

Peter Huchel

Translated by Michael Hamburger

RRP: GBP 10.95
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Price: GBP 9.85
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 856463 44 0
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Published: August 2004
216 x 138 x 19 mm
208 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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    The Garden of Theophrastus

    for my son

    When at noon the white fire of verses
    Flickering dances above the urns,
    Remember, my son. Remember the vanished
    Who planted their conversations like trees.
    The garden is dead, more heavy my breathing,
    Preserve the hour, here Theophrastus walked,
    With oak bark to feed the soil and enrich it,
    To bandage with fibre the wounded bole.
    An olive splits the brickwork grown brittle
    And still is a voice on the mote-laden heat.
    Their order was to fell and uproot it,
    Their light is fading, defenceless leaves.

    Translated by Michael Hamburger

    This new edition of The Garden of Theophrastus brings back into print one of Germany’s finest recent poets, in translations by his close friend Michael Hamburger. Peter Huchel (1903–1981) wrote amidst the political turmoil of twentieth-century Germany before the country’s re-unification. A highly influential figure in the former East Germany, he edited the magazine Sinn und Form there until 1962 but was dismissed for indulging too ‘liberal’ a policy. Before that break, and through the hardship of the Second World War and its vexed aftermath, he maintained a poetry of humane commitment, formal invention and precision.

    Peter Huchel
    Peter Huchel (1903–1981) was born in Lichterfelde near Berlin. He studied literature and philosophy in Berlin, Freiburg and Vienna. His poetry has its roots in the native Brandenburg from which he was exiled in the 1970s when he was ‘sent West’ after long official neglect. After his dismissal from the editorship ... read more
    Michael Hamburger
    Michael Hamburger (1924–2007) was a poet and critic of distinction as well as the outstanding translator of German poetry. His awards include the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (1981), the German Federal Republic’s Goethe Medal (1986) and the EC’s first European Translation Prize (1990) for Poems of Paul Celan . Five collections of his ... read more
    Praise for Michael Hamburger 'O'Driscoll manages to get the reader as close to Hamburger as possible in one book. It feels very much like spending a week at your grandfather's house - getting to listen to all his stories, roaming through cupboards, reading the works hidden inside.'
    Dominik Szczepaniak, DURA
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