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Durs Grünbein honoured with Zbigniew Herbert Literary Award 2020

18.09.2020

We are pleased to announce that the Laureate of the Zbigniew Herbert Literary Award 2020 is poet and essayist Durs Grünbein.

Tomasz Różycki, poet and prose writer, juror of the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award, states in the jury’s rationale:

»Grünbein is presently one of the most famous and appreciated German language poets, not only because of the value of his enormous creative output, but also because of the scope of his interests and the initiatives he has undertaken over the years. Born in the former GDR, he describes the experiences of the grey days of the ›People’s Democracy‹, the grey streets of a war torn Dresden reduced to ashes, but also the colourful chaos and ambiguity of the present. His poems, a mix of various styles of expression, from the most metaphorical to the colloquial and striking, with their ruthless directness, often take on boldly modernized, though fundamentally classic, literary forms: elegy, ode, sonnet, epic poem, prose poem. Grünbein, whilst staying close to modern life, comes into contact with art and philosophy, as if he had as examples the German language’s great predecessors: Hölderlin, Novalis, and Goethe. His poems are dialogues with the great: Seneca, Pascal, and Descartes. He constantly subjects existence to the scrutiny of poetic analysis, re-erecting a once destroyed bridge, linking poetry and philosophy; best seen in the widely commented lengthy poem about Descartes, which in itself is something of a mechanism, a kind of poetic machine serving reflection. In this sense, Grünbein is also close to Zbigniew Herbert’s poetic tradition: universal culture is still a reference for him, a place where we all live, despite the passage of the years, changes in fashions and ways of communicating. It is also an inexhaustible store of questions that are still worth asking, a way of finding kinship in the face of a restless present. An element of permanence, something that, for a moment, allows us to forget about the time and space that divide us.«

To read more about Zbigniew Herbert Literary Award Laureate Dürs Grünbein, click here.

The aim of the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award, established in Warsaw in 2013, is to recognize outstanding artistic and intellectual literary achievements on the world stage which have a bearing on the world of values towards which Zbigniew Herbert’s work gravitated. Former laureates include Agi Mishol, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Breyten Breytenbach, Charles Simic and W.S. Merwin.

To read more about the Award, click here.

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Antique Dispositions
Durs Grünbein
Antique Dispositions
From the Dream (Files)
Durs Grünbein
From the Dream (Files)
The Bars of Atlantis
Durs Grünbein
The Bars of Atlantis
The Cartesian Diver
Durs Grünbein
The Cartesian Diver
The Dear Dead
Durs Grünbein
The Dear Dead
Declared Night
Durs Grünbein
Declared Night
The First Year
Durs Grünbein
The First Year
Poem and Secret
Durs Grünbein
Poem and Secret
The Years at the Zoo
Durs Grünbein
The Years at the Zoo
Beyond Literature
Durs Grünbein
Beyond Literature
Colossus in the Fog
Durs Grünbein
Colossus in the Fog
Praise of the Typhoon
Durs Grünbein
Praise of the Typhoon
Porcelain
Durs Grünbein
Porcelain
The Vocation of Poetry
Durs Grünbein
The Vocation of Poetry
Why Live Without Writing
Durs Grünbein
Why Live Without Writing
Spark Plugs
Durs Grünbein
Spark Plugs