Born in Berlin on March 6th, 1929, Günter Kunert studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Berlin from 1946-1949, and married Marianne Todten in 1951.
Kunert has written in nearly every literary genre, including literary criticism, short stories, television plays, and poetry. But it is as a poet that he is best known today, particularly for his parable-like writings and his aphoristic and dark wit in the manner of Bertolt Brecht. Kunert’s work of the 1950s grew out of his experiences with war and facism, and in his early writings his poems often served almost as “warning poems” about the dangers of repeating war and military dictatorship. In the 1960s this work changed from warning of the dangers to a sense of general disillusionment, influenced particularly by his disgust with East German socialism. From 1963 on he began to receive criticism from the GDR, and he 1966 his poetry was attacked from displaying un-Marxist qualities, leading to his expulsion from the Communist party in 1977. In 1979 he left East Germany to live in the West.
Kunert has received numerous literary awards, including the Heinrich Mann Prize in 1962 and the Becher Prize in 1973.
BOOKS OF POETRY:
Wegschilder und Mauerinschriften (Berlin: Aufbau, 1950); Unter diesem Himmel (Berlin: Neues Leben, 1955); Tagwerke (Halle: Middeldeutschen, 1960); Das kreuzbrave Liederbuch (Berlin: Aufbau, 1961); Erinnerung an einen Planeten (München: Hanser, 1963); Tagtraüme: Prosa (München: Hanser, 1964); Der ungebetene Gast (Berlin: Aufbau, 1965); Verkündigung des Wetters (München: Hanser, 1966); Unschuld der Natur (Berlin: Aufbau, 1966); Poesiealbum acht (Berlin: Neues Leben, 1968); Warnung vor Spiegeln (München: Hanser, 1970); Notizen in Kreide (Leipzig: Reclam, 1970); Offener Ausgang (Berlin: Aufbau, 1972); Im weiteren Fortgang (München: Hanser, 1974); Das kleine Aber (Berlin: Aufbau, 1976); Unterwegs nach Utopia (München: Hanser, 1977); Verlangen nach Bomarzo: Reisegedichte (München: Hanser, 1978); Unruhiger Schlaf (München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1979); Abtötungsverfahren (München: Hanser, 1980); Stilleben (München: Hanser, 1983); Berlin beizeiten (München: Hanser, 1987); Fremd daheim (München: Hanser, 1990); Mondlichtlandschaft: Gedichte und Biler (Göttingen: Steidl, 1991); Mein Golem (München: Hanser, 1996); Nacht Vorstellung (München: Hanser, 1999); So und nich anders (München: Hanser, 2002).
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS:
Selection in East German Poetry (Oxford, England: Carcanet Press, 1972);
Windy Times: Poems and Prose , trans. by Agnes Stein (New York: Red Dust, 1983).