Volker Braun: Rubble Flora - Selected Poems
translated by David Constantine and Karen Leeder
Rubble Flora is a selection of poems from the distinguished, half-century-long career of German poet Volker Braun. Born in the former East Germany, Braun is a humane, witty, brave and disappointed poet. In the East, his poetry upheld the voice of the individual imagination and identified with a utopian possibility that never became reality. He might be said to have found a truly singular voice amid the colossal upheavals of 1989—exploring the triumph of capitalism and the languages of advertising, terror, politics and war. At the same time, Braun is a sensual poet in tune with the natural landscape. He has his own touchstones in world literature, and many of his poems set quotations from Rimbaud, Shakespeare and Brecht into his own context, where they work as ironic illuminations of a present plight. The literary principle of his work lies in the friction of these different voices, whether cast into free form, collage or classical verse. Cumulatively, Rubble Flora offers a searing vision of these transformative decades.