Guntram Vesper

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The Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship at the Department of German Studies of the University of Kassel was awarded to the Göttingen-based author Guntram Vesper for the winter semester 1993/94. In the lectures, which were made possible financially by the Stadtsparkasse Kassel, Guntram Vesper, like the writers Dieter Kühn, Tankred Dorst, Hans-Joachim Schädlich, Klaus Harpprecht and Oskar Pastior before him, gave insights into the poetics of his work. 

Image: SchoeCo (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 4.0)
Guntram Vesper (2016)

Vesper, born in Frohburg/Saxony in 1941, is the author of poetry, stories and radio plays; of (according to G. von Wilpert) cleverly assembled short prose with descriptions of the rural milieu, "which he associatively links from banalities, prejudices, thought and language clichés to concise images of social constraints and human behavior." His radio plays continue this theme, often with the inclusion of more or less authentic criminal cases, while in his poetry he provides an "illusionless description of the human lack of relationships" (Wilpert). As guiding questions, Vesper has prefixed his work: "In which world we live. What we want. Who we are."

Some important publications are: On the Horizon the Ice Age (poem 1963), Timetable (poem 1964), Poems (1985), War Memorial at the Very Back (ore 1970), North of Love and South of Hate (ore 1979), The Illusion of Misfortune (poem 1980), The Islands in the Land Sea (poem 1982), Frohburg (poem 1985), Latema magica (ore 1985), I Heard the Name Yesenin (poem 1990), Light Experiments Darkroom (1992).

Vesper is a member of the German PEN Center and the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Darmstadt. He has already held poetry lectureships in Mainz and Essen. He has been awarded numerous scholarships and prizes.

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1969 Prize of the State Center for Political Education of Lower Saxony
  • 1970 Kurt Magnus Prize
  • 1978 Villa Massimo Fellowship
  • 1984 Award for Literature of the Berlin Academy of Arts
  • 1984 Märkisches Stipendium for Literature
  • 1985 Peter Huchel Prize
  • 1987 Prix Italia
  • 1990 Literature Prize Hessischer Landbote
  • 2000/01 Scholarship International House of Artists Villa Concordia