Elke Erb shares with
other poets from the former GDR an emphasis on the
concrete, but her way of presenting it is unlike anybody else's, East
Her complex syntax gave the lie to official simplicites, and the close
observation of everyday occurrences or social structures leaped off
page into the unexpected and surreal.
Elke Erb lives in what used to be East Berlin. She has published ten
of poetry, most recently Mensch sein, nicht, a book of essays
from the Russian (Zvetaeva, Achmatova, Chlebnikov, Essenin, Pushkin,
Her many honors include the "F. C. Weisskopf" prize of the
Academy of the
Arts in Berlin (1999).
"The thoughts and incidents of these prose poems take place in
vision, but childlike in the sense that incomprehensibility is accepted...
have no need of excess.... Her unassuming style is deceptive--with
shift, a simple idea can become slippery."
--Marc Lowenthal, The Boston Book Review
"mordant and funny"
--Eliot Weinberger, American Poet
"Short, surreal, highly enigmatic poem-narratives that leave
the impression that the world is a far stranger place than we ever
--Mark Wallace, Washington Review
"With Kleist's A n e k d o t e n
in mind, Erb charts a radical path to the ordinary."
--John Taylor, The Prose Poem
"Poetry as an attempt to dynamite petrified structures...,
poetry as incessant
reflective effort..., poetry as childlike utopia. Three irreconcilable
perhaps. But perhaps great works (those that do not talk away contradictions)
come about only in the meeting of the irreconcilable."