Born in Schwabach, Germany in 1951, Falkner spent many years in New York, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, London, Rome, San Francisco and elsewhere before settling in Nuremberg, where he spends most of his time today.
His first volume of poetry, so beginnen am körper die tage (so begin the days along your body) of 1981 received major critical acclaim. That volume was followed by
der atem unter der erde (the breath beneath the ground) 1984 and wemut in 1989.
A grant from the Literarisches Colloqium resulted in the publication of Berlin -Eisenherzbriefe (Berlin - Iron Heart Letters) in 1986, considered to be an important postmodern text. In 1998 the first comprehensive monograph in English Voice and Void: The Poetry of Gerhard Falkner, by Neil Donahue was published, which, in turn, led to a stay at New York University and traveling throughout the United States and Mexico. He edited American poets in Am lit. Neue Literatur aus den USA.
His most recent works of poetry are X-te Person Einzahl. Gesammelte Gedichte (Suhrkamp, 1996) and Endogene Gedichte (DuMong, 2000). Falkner also has published dramatics works such as Der Quälmeister and Alte Heldon, which was broadcast in 2002 by Bavarian Radio. In 2003 he took the position of “prestigious scholarship” at the Schloß Solitude in Stuttgart.
Using essential images, in so beginnen am körper die tage Gerhard Falkner abandoned the poetic common sense of the early 1980´s that rejected anything but formal exper-iments and “everyday poetry.” Combining formal discipline with a opulent and direct sense of the present, he prepared the ground, as one of the first of his generation, for a poetry alive with richness and sensuality as well as melancholy and pain, as it then began to gain acceptance from the middle of the 1980´s. Falkner´s poems also deal with the estrangement of the poet, the disappearance of the writer in the background noise of his text and of history. This experience motivated his decision to silence himself, as he as he announced in 1989 his volume wemut to be his last poetic work.
After publishing in 1995 a selection of earlier, but also several new poems, titled X-te Person Einzahl (Nth-Person Singular), he broke his resolution with Endogene Gedichte (Endogenous Poems), where he writes: "I made a mistake in 1989. I did announce not to publish any more poetry. The fault was not in the intention, but in its consequences. The announcement became a kind of trademark, it followed me like the Erynnies followed Orestis—however not with mythical force, but as a notorious reflex.
BOOKS OF POETRY:
so beginnen am köper die tage (Darmstadt/Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1981); der atem unter der erde (Darmstadt/Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1984); wemut (Darmstaadt/Neuwied: Luchterhand, 1991); seventeen selected poems (Berlin: Galrev, 1994); X-te Person Einzahl. Gesammelte Gedichte (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1996); Endogene Gedichte (Köln: DuMont, 2000).