March 14, 2013

Gerhard Rühm


Gerhard Rühm [Austria]
1930
 
Born in Vienna in 1930, Gerhard Rühm was originally aligned with the Vienna Group, joining poets H. C. Artmann and Friedrich Achleitner in one the group’s most important works, Hosn rosn baa (1959). Later, Rühm would become the Vienna Group’s major historian, editing the 1967 anthology, Die Wiener Gruppe.

     Rühm, like many in the Vienna group, was a believer in Konkretismus (Concrete Poetry), and his work, expressed in eight collections of the 1960s, manifests that interest. But for the poet, everything, in a sense, became a surface into and onto which he expressed language. He also wrote several plays, and collected and edited the work of his friend, Konrad Bayer. He set numerous poems for music, employed audio and film sources as well. Hudreds of poems and visual works by Rühm have continued to appear in the last few decades.

      In 1973 the poet was a founding member of the Graz Authors’ Collective, and, along with others, attacked through manifestos and poetry, the traditions of bourgeois propriety and manners of more traditional Austrian writing. His Gesammelte Werke (Collected Writings), collected into five volumes, was published in 2005-2010, with volume 1.1, 1.2., and 2.1 consisting of poems and visual poetry.

     Rühm was also a professor of music at several German universities, and is recognized as a visual artist.

     He has won numerous awards, including the Austrian Prize for Literature in 1976, the Literature Prize of the City of Vienna in 1984, the Grand Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1991, the Medal of Honor for the Viennese in 1991, the Alice Salomon Poetry Prize in 2007, and a Honorary Doctorate of the University of Cologne in 2010.
 
SELECTED BOOKS OF POETRY
 
Selbstmörderkranz: Gedichte im Wiener Dialekt (Berlin: Rainer Verlag, 1966); Hosn, Rosn, Baa (with Friedrich Achleitner and H. C. Artmann) (Vienna: Frick, 1968); Fenster. Texte (Reilnbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1968); Gesammelte Gedicte und visualle (Refinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1970); Texte Bücher Bilder, Bilder-Bücher (Berlin:; Edition am Mehringdamm, 1976); Geschiechterdings: Chansons, Romanzen, Gedichte (Reibek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1990); Gesammelte Werke, ed. by Michael Fish and Monika Lichtenfeld (volumes 1.1. 1.2. and 2.1) (Berlin: Partha Verlag, 2005-2006); Lügen über Läder und Leute: vollstädige Erzählungen und Gedichte (Klagenfurt: Ritterr, 2011)
 
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS
 
selections in Austrian Poetry Today, ed. and trans. by Milne Holton and Herbert Kuhner (New York: Schocken Books, 1985); selections in The Vienna Group: 6 Major Austrian Poets, ed, and trans. by Rosmarie Waldrop and Harriett Watts (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1985); I My Feet, trans. by Rosmarie Waldrop (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2004)
 
give me your hand
 
give me your hand louise
your cold hand
 
give me your hand louise
your cold hand
 
not both hands louise give
one cold hand
 
i won’t squeeze it
i’ll only hold it
 
your hand louise
your hand
 
your cold hand the cold hand
i only hold

one glance into your cool eyes
is enough
 
two glances would be too much
much too much
 
two glances would be too much
one is enough
 
—Translated from the German by Milne Holton and Herbert Kuchner

 
Flower Piece

                     for günter brus

 the tulip shits on the lawn
the violet farts in the gardener’s hand
the forget-me-not vomits into the tissue paper
the pink sucks on its stem
the orchid masturbates between the lady’s fingers and
    drips on her sleeve
the rose stinks of sweat and menstrual blood
the snowdrop snots on the fresh tablecloth
the lily pisses into the vase
the hyacinth belches

 
—Translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop
 
i
my feet
and you
your feet
walking
our feet
walking

i could also say other things
about other things

—Translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop

the first half hour
and
the second half hour
then
the whole following
and
the next following hour
and
another hour
and still more hours
and
always still more hours
thus
it’s
slowly
gotten to be
now
and
now
the first half hour
and
the second half hour
then
the whole following
and the next following

 
—Translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop



_____
“Give Me Your Hand,” English language translation copyright ©1985 by Milne Holton and Herbert Kuhner, reprinted from Austrian Poetry Today (New York: Schoken Books, 1985)

“Flower Piece,” “i / my feet,” and “the first half hour,” English language translation copyright ©1985 by Rosmarie Waldrop, reprinted from The Vienna Group: 6 Major Austrian Poets (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1985).

To hear and watch Gerhard Rühm’s “The Bird of Paradise,” go here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NEe_Nv__fM

To see Rühm’s “moving” poet “Levitation,” go here:

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