Durs Grünbein

Spark Plugs - Poems

(German title: Zündkerzen)
ca. 152 pages
Durs Grünbein
Foto: Durs Grünbein
© Tineke de Lange

Durs Grünbein, born 1962 in Dresden, lives in Berlin.

Awards (Selection):

Peter-Huchel-Prize (1995)
Georg-Büchner-Prize (1995)
Friedrich Nietzsche-Prize (2004)
Tomas-Tränströmer-Prize (2012)
Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award (2020)

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Italy (selection; Einaudi)

Spark Plugs are things, not ideas and, above all, not concepts.


Spark Plugs is a collection of 83 poems in diverse forms consisting of dream fragments, snippets of speech, prose poems, broken sonnets, and sequences that read like accident reports. They are all based in Italy, on Italian relations, and on Italian motifs in their historical dimensions but also on decay and destruction. There is a strong emphasis on the now. These poems are often quick, and work directly on the level of impression. They vary in form from the sonnet to the long poem. Of the two longer poems in the collection one has to do with the quirks of perception and the relationship between reality, sleep, and dream while the other is interfused with the poet’s own colour photographs. Textually varied, diverse in tone, rapid and at times experimental, this is a solid, well-written collection of poetry.

Durs Grünbein does not belong to any school or popular movement – he is a poet who observes the real, who is curious about worldly things but ever ready for their disappearance.

Other publications

Der cartesische Taucher/The Cartesian Diver (2008)

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English world rights (Upper West Side Philosophers), Sweden (Ersatz)

Porzellan/Porcelain (2005)

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Vom Schnee oder Descartes in Deutschland/On Snow or Descartes in Germany (2003)

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Italy (Einaudi), Sweden (Ersatz), Greece (Keedros)

Erklärte Nacht/Declared Night (2002)

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Italy (Einaudi), Hungary (Jelenkor)

Das erste Jahr/The First Year (2001)

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Italy (Einaudi)

Nach den Satiren/After the Satires (1999)

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France (Petits Matins), Czech Republic (Opus), previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Hungary (Jelenkor)