Thomas Bernhard: Collected Poems
translated by James Reidel
Thomas Bernhard began his career in the early 1950s as a poet und seemed always on the verge of joining the ranks of Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan and other young post-war poets writing in German. Filled with an undulant self-pity, counterpointed by a defamatory, bardic voice, Bernhard’s verse emerged as a magisterial work of anti-poetry – one that represents his harrowing experience, with the leitmotif of success-failure, which makes his celebrated fiction such a distinct pleasure.
Bernhard’s Collected Poems, translated into English for the first time, proves to be a key to understanding the irascible black comedy found in virtually all of this great writer’s work – even down to his last will and testament.
Originally published in Thomas Bernhard, Gesammelte Gedichte, by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, in 1991 and in Gedichte, by Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, in 2015.