Geertje Suhr

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Geertje Suhr (born February 8, 1943 in Prague ; married Potash) is a German writer and German scholar who lives in Chicago .


Geertje Suhr was born in 1943 in Prague as the daughter of Friedrich Suhr and his wife Gretel. Friedrich Suhr was SS-Obersturmbannführer and charged with war crimes and committed suicide in 1946 while in custody. She never met him. She therefore regards her stepfather, the government director Wulff Schmidt from Lüneburg, as her real father.

Suhr came to Lüneburg with her mother in 1945 and grew up in northern Germany. When she was twenty she turned to writing. In 1965 the texts The Marschallin and the expulsion of the devil were written . Encouraged by Peter Rühmkorf , with whom she was on friendly terms ever since, she has published in anthologies and magazines since the late 1980s and wrote for radio.

Suhr studied German , Romance studies , history and psychology in Tübingen , Freiburg im Breisgau and Lausanne ( Switzerland ), where she graduated with a License des Lettres . After their marriage, she settled in Chicago and became a PhD student with Lee Byron Jennings . In 1980 she received her doctorate from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a thesis on The Changes in the Image of Women in the Poetry of Heinrich Heine . She regularly visits Germany for readings.

Geertje Suhr is a member of the PEN and the Varnhagen Society . In 2006 she donated the Geertje Potash-Suhr Prize for prose in German, awarded by the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German , which Nina Holz , Fred Viebahn , Peter Wortsman , Peter Blickle , Guy Stern and Utz Rachowski have received.


“THESE POEMS ARE REALLY AND TRULY GOOD; there is such a very special touch, a personal trait in it that is very difficult to define, and that one lacks quick analogies seems almost the best sign to me. What every artist desires most intensely, most heartily longs for, their own sound, she has found it. What you can never achieve with artistic effort alone, to drive a voice that is often broken, she has achieved. What she writes seems to me to be as intellectual as it is almost unlucky, i.e. innocent, i.e. simple-minded, i.e. poetic primal perception, a very strange mixture. Dry humor is sometimes said to some - it also seems to be of North German character - but with you it does not appear as an addition or as a chance dodging - rather the dangling has method, the sarcasm principle, and where do you find it already today in the whole of postmodern confusion. "( Peter Rühmkorf )

“Be it with passionate, combative persuasiveness, be it with ironic distance, Geertje Suhr makes the hopes and fears, the misunderstood and unresolved in the life of the individual as well as society tangible and conscious in her lyrical work. (...) Heine's wit, irony and melancholy and Thomas Mann's ironic, psychologizing art of representation, as well as Goethe's, Mörikes, Rilkes, Benn and Sarah Kirsch's world of thought and language were and are their preferred role models and have left their mark on their work. Her poems, in particular, are interspersed with quotes, literary allusions to the content and rhythms of these poets and parodic elements in an extremely artistic, imaginative and novel way. The fact that one often only guesses Heine's tone has a great attraction. "(Sigrid Kellenter)

"Thoughts flash in the story and the language advances lyrically and with lyrical punchlines. 'May advances into June'. As in fairy tales, things do things that they normally don't do. The rat that torments Gorda. What a cruel, accurate metaphor. The heart that kicks it. A very dense, short story the story of the Swiss NCO. Everything to read several times. I don't have to tell you that it reached out to me in particular. " ( Werner Liersch on From someone who set out to learn to love. )

"The author's ego is always present in these scenes. This brings about the immediate presence, relevance and permanence of the narrated, which is not only due to the famous people, but even more to Suhr's incredibly lively, funny style and 'own sound' (based on Rühmkorf) . And that sounds not only in the poems, but also, or even more so, in the prose. " (Irmgard Hunt on encounters with famous contemporaries. Peter Rühmkorf, Robert Gernhardt, Walter Kempowski, Walter Höllerer, Max Frisch and others )

"Gorda (the narrator) often appears funny-funny and disturbed-evil at the same time. Only great writers achieve this rare effect on their characters ... With all their precise observations, including the repetitions, exaggerations and understatements, without which people cannot learn, Geertje Suhr succeeds in creating a radically honest autobiographical novel, performed in a brilliant way. We wish him / her great success. " (Irmgard Hunt on Baby in the Third Reich. Poetry, Lies and Truth. )


  • The changes in the image of women in Heinrich Heine's poetry. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1983, Book Edition: Venus and Loreley. The changes in the image of women in Heinrich Heine's poetry. Grupello, Düsseldorf 1998, ISBN 3-928234-80-3 .
  • Singing on the plane over the waters of Chicago. Poems. Klaus Guhl, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-88220-459-1 .
  • Try to think your way into him. Stories and poems. Klaus Guhl, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-88220-214-9 .
  • Still picture Great love. Poems. Grupello, Düsseldorf 1996, ISBN 3-928234-43-9 .
  • Mephisto is not dead. Roman. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2000, ISBN 3-933749-13-1 .
  • Child hangover. Tales of cats, men and best friends. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-89978-000-0 .
  • The wrong roses . Poems. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2006, ISBN 3-89978-063-9 .
  • Love as a Saving Grace. Life-saving love. Poems / poems. German-English edition, translated by Jolyon T. Hughes with the assistance of v. Frauke Lenckos u. Brunhilde Johnson. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-89978-113-7 .
  • One who went out to learn to love. Novel. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2011, ISBN 978-3-89978-151-9 .
  • Encounters with famous contemporaries. Peter Rühmkorf, Robert Gernhardt, Walter Kempowski, Walter Höllerer, Max Frisch and others . Grupello, Düsseldorf 2014, ISBN 978-3-89978-192-2 .
  • Baby in the Third Reich. Poetry, Lies and Truth. Novel. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2016, ISBN 978-3-89978-255-4 .
  • Always straight into the heart with the pen. Poetry book. Grupello, Düsseldorf 2018, ISBN 978-3-89978-302-5 .
  • Heart in exile. A German poet's life in the United States. hochroth Verlag, Wiesenburg 2020, ISBN 978-3-903182-59-2 .
  • Heart in Exile. Translated by Louise E. Stoehr. hochroth Verlag, Wiesenburg 2020, ISBN 978-3-903182-60-8 .


  • Sigrid Kellenter: Geertje Suhr's fairy tale poems: Grimm's heroine come of age? In: German Studies Review. 18 (1995), pp. 393-418.
  • Werner Preuss: Free slaves. Anthology from the works of women writers from Lüneburg. In: Verlag Almáriom, Lüneburg (2017), pp. 243-296, ISBN 978-3-945264-03-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. the strongly autobiographical story From this Friederike a Rahel should become in the volume Kindkater (see section Works ).
  2. See Peter Rühmkorf: TABU I. Tagebücher 1989–1991, Rowohlt, Reinbek 1995, p. 240 u. 316.
  3. See. The website of SCALG.
  4. Peter Rühmkorf to Geertje Potash-Suhr, February 2, 1988, cited above. after the blurb of the still image Great love. (see section works ).
  5. Sigrid Kellenter: Geertje Suhr's fairy tale poems: Grimm's heroine come of age? quoted after the blurb of the still image Great love. (see section Literature ).
  6. Werner Liersch to Geertje Potash-Suhr, July 24, 2011.
  7. Irmgard Hunt in Trans-Lit2, Vol. XX / No. 2, autumn 2014, p. 81. ISSN  1933-5911
  8. Irmgard Hunt in Trans-Lit2, Vol. XXII / No. 2, autumn 2016, pp. 81–83. ISSN  1933-5911