Remembering Hans Magnus Enzensberger

I was saddened to hear late last year of the passing of the German poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger (1929-2022) and I thought I should note that even here.

I’m no expert on post-war German poetry, but Enzensberger, along with W.G. Sebald seemed to me one of the great post-war German writers as that country tried to emerge from World War II and deal with its past.

It was my Monash University tutor Philip Martin, who first alerted me to Enzensberger’s work and I was grateful. In retrospect, the European sensibility and awareness of history and the past, was a good fit with Martin’s own preoccupations in his writing.

I’ve blogged about Enzensberger before here in reference to his long poem The Sinking of the Titanic , a poem that for me rival’s Thomas Hardy’s great poem on the subject The Convergence of the Twain.

His collection A History of Clouds was also my poetry book of the year in 2010, a book summed up as a celebration of the ‘tenacity of normality in everyday life’.

Enzensberger’s death barely rated a mention in the Australian press but seems to me the passing of a fine mind. The poems live on

NOTE: I updated this post with some better quality images from some of the Enzensberger books I have.

The Sinking of the Titanic (a poem)
A History of Clouds (2010)
Selected Poems
Selected Poems (title page)
Selected Poems (back cover)

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