Uwe Kolbe is one of the major German poets of his generation. Both part of the dissident scene in East Germany and, at the same time, fiercely independent, he early on reworked literary tradition, detailed observation, and personal experience into poems that clearly express his own poetic vision in a distinct voice. Born October 17, 1957, in East Berlin, Kolbe was drawn to writing at a young age. He published his first volume of poetry, Hineingeboren (Born Into), in the former German Democratic Republic in 1980 and in 1982 in West Germany. “Hineingeboren” has become Kolbe’s signature poem because it has become the term used to refer to the first generation of writers born into the former German Democratic Republic. Taken from this volume, the poems in this selection vary in their form from traditional to experimental, as will be pointed out in the commentary on the specific poems. In general, the early experimental poems (giving up capitalization, reducing use of punctuation, using ambiguous syntactic constructions) are based on Kolbe’s attempt to dissolve form in order to solve poetically the problems of the world.



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