Thomas Kling


Edited by Marcel Beyer. With an afterword by Tobias Lehmkuhl
(German title: Sondagen)
ca. 145 pages
Thomas Kling
Foto: Thomas Kling
© Ute Langanky, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Thomas Kling, born in Bingen in 1957, lived in Düsseldorf, Vienna, Finland, Cologne and on the island of Hombroich, where today his literary estate is housed by the Thomas Kling Archive. He died on April 1, 2005.

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As the images of the devastating attack on the World Trade Center in New York were flickering across the TV screens on September 11, 2001, Thomas Kling began drafting a laconic lament as a live connection »to the waters of the hudson«: »Manhattan Mundraum Zwei«. The volume Sondages, published in 2002, opens with this poem, which thus arches over the cyclically structured events that followed.

With his special method, the empathetic zoom wrought from words, the poet approaches scenes of the Spanish Civil War, undertakes a sailing voyage in the footsteps of Beowulf, descends into ancient Greece with adaptations, remembers rummaging through a villa destined for demolition in Düsseldorf. The couterpiece to »Manhattan Mundraum Zwei« is the cycle »A Hombroich-Elegy«, in which nature is transofrmed in micro-dramas of harrowing tenderness right in front of the window of his study. Sondages – the excavation of layers in the linguistic terrain. Sondages – »a precisely composed cycle of smaller cycles, choreography and accompaniment of a ghostly roundel that passes by in the flickering light of the fire pits and screens«. Heinrich Detering, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


»Even 15 years after his death Thomas Kling is ›still the fiercest‹ most eloquent poet of his generation« Michael Braun, Der Tagesspiegel

»Those who wish to discover the extraordinary poet Thomas Kling, can do so in Sondages, which present Kling's perception and his poetic transformation of [times from] the Palaeolithic Age to the Thirty Years' War and 9/11. A fantastic, exceptional work.« Matthias Ehlers, WDR