Sarah Kirsch

The content on this page was translated automatically.

The University of Kassel (GhK) has awarded its Brothers Grimm Poetics Professorship for the winter semester 1995/96 to the poet Sarah Kirsch.

The award of the Grimm Professorship in 1996 follows numerous honors already bestowed upon Sarah Kirsch since she achieved early fame with her volumes of poetry Landaufenthalt (1967), Zaubersprüche (1973) and Rückenwind (1977).

Born in Limlingerode/Südharz on April 16, 1935, after graduating from high school, working in a sugar factory, studying biology and spending two years at the GDR's "school of poetry," the Johannes R. Becher Institute of Literature, she began working as a freelance writer in 1965. Since her divorce from Rainer Kirsch (1968), she lived in East Berlin and worked simultaneously as a journalist, radio author and translator.

Image: Vera Stark (Wikimedia Commons | CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Sarah Kirsch (1976)

She became a political border crosser in 1977, when she left the GDR in the wake of the protests against Wolf Biermann's expatriation and moved to West Berlin. Since 1983, Sarah Kirsch has lived and worked in Schleswig-Holstein, whose landscape and nature have been the subject of much of her poetry ever since.

The GhK also hopes for a stronger connection to the literary scene with the changed selection procedure for the awarding of the Grimm Poetics Professorship. For the first time, the Department of German Studies entrusted the nomination to a renowned critic and connoisseur of contemporary literary life, who will also be responsible for presenting the new Grimm Poetics Professor: Heinz Ludwig Arnold (University of Göttingen), a renowned expert on contemporary German literature, was recruited for the task.

GPP event series with Sarah Kirsch

Sarah Kirsch read at the GhK's Gießhaus on January 16, 17 and 18. Heinz Ludwig Arnold, publisher and founder of the literary magazine Text und Kritik, did the introduction on January 16. The theme of the first evening in the crowded Gießhaus was "Von Haupt- und Nebendrachen." In a captivating, idiosyncratic lecture, in which she formulated her contradictory feelings with the literary audience, addressed her desire to write on "fine Tuscan paper," let the autobiographical cautiously merge into the alienating, and - so not at all ready to be celebrated - hardly noticed the enthusiastic applause at the end, presented herself as a poet of high charisma and persuasive power. On January 17 [...] Sarah Kirsch spoke "Of poets and prose poets". On January 18, the evening event was preceded by a seminar with Sarah Kirsch before she read from her work.

Prizes and awards (selection):

  • 1965 Erich Weinert Medal (Art Prize of the FDJ; with Rainer Kirsch)
  • 1973 Heinrich Heine Prize of the Ministry of Culture of the GDR
  • 1976 Petrarca Prize (with Ernst Meister)
  • 1978 Villa Massimo Fellowship
  • 1980 Austrian State Prize for European Literature
  • 1981 Critics Prize for Literature
  • 1983 Roswitha Prize
  • 1984 Friedrich-Hölderlin-Prize of the city of Bad Homburg
  • 1992 Honorary award of the Heinrich Heine Society
  • 1993 Peter Huchel Prize
  • 1993 Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
  • 1996 Georg Büchner Prize
  • 1997 Annette von Droste Hülshoff Prize
  • 2005 Jean Paul Prize
  • 2007 Samuel Bogumil Linde Prize