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.
Volker Braun is the author of numerous plays, works of fiction, volumes of poetry, and essays. David Constantine is a writer and translator. Karen Leeder is professor of modern German literature at the University of Oxford and a fellow in German at New College, Oxford.