Peter Rühmkorf

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Peter Rühmkorf, October 2004

Peter Rühmkorf (born October 25, 1929 in Dortmund ; † June 8, 2008 in Roseburg in the Duchy of Lauenburg (Schleswig-Holstein); pseudonyms: Lyng, Peter Torborg, Leo Doletzki, Leslie Meier, Johannes Fontara (together with Werner Riegel ), John Frieder, Hans-Werner Weber, Harry Flieder, Hans Hingst; nickname : Lyngi) was one of the most important German poets , essayists and pamphleteers after 1945.


Peter Rühmkorf grew up as the illegitimate son of the teacher Elisabeth Rühmkorf , an Otterndorf pastor's daughter, in Warstade (today part of the city of Hemmoor ) near Stade . His father was the puppeteer Hans Westhoff. Peter Rühmkorf was a godchild of Karl Barth . In 1951 he passed his Abitur at the Athenaeum Stade . From 1951 to 1956/57 he first studied education and art history, later German and psychology in Hamburg . After a few semesters, Rühmkorf gave up his original goal of studying to be a primary school teacher and dropped out. According to him, a conflict with his professors should have been the cause.

Peter Rühmkorf, October 2004

Together with the poet and essayist Werner Riegel , he self- published the hectographed literary magazine Between the Wars from 1951 until his death in 1956 . This was at the same time the lyrical and political platform of “ Finism ” and, in retrospect, an important series of issues from those years. Rühmkorf was one of the founders and main author in the student courier , which was significant for the young "resistance" intelligentsia of the 1950s. He later published in the follow-up magazine Concrete .

From 1958 to 1964 Rühmkorf worked as a publisher's editor at Rowohlt Verlag . Since then he has been a freelance writer and poet in Hamburg. Rühmkorf often performed his own poems in public, sometimes with jazz accompaniment from Michael Naura and Wolfgang Schlüter . In 1966 he took part in a jazz and poetry event on Adolphsplatz in Hamburg. He received numerous literary prizes and was a frequent guest lecturer at German and international universities. From 1969 to 1970 he was in Austin (Texas), 1977 in Essen, 1978 in Warwick, 1980 in Frankfurt am Main and Hanover, 1983 in New Hampshire and 1985/86 in Paderborn. In the 1960s, Rühmkorf also worked as a dramatist, but the three plays that were created at that time were not very successful - especially because of the political constellations in both parts of Germany. In 1972 he published his autobiography The Years You Know .

Grave of Peter and Eva Rühmkorf

In 1964 he married and the psychologist Eva Titze (1935–2013), who worked as the head of a penal institution, gender and culture politician and as a minister in Schleswig-Holstein . They lived in Övelgönne in the Hamburg district of Othmarschen since the early 1970s .

Peter Rühmkorf died of cancer on June 8, 2008 at the age of 78 in Roseburg, Schleswig-Holstein, where he last lived. His urn grave is in the main cemetery in Altona .

Rühmkorf was a member of Group 47 , the PEN and the Academy of Arts (Berlin) , the German Academy for Language and Poetry , Darmstadt, and the Free Academy of Arts , Hamburg.

Rühmkorf's estate is in the German Literature Archive in Marbach . Parts of it can be seen in the permanent exhibition of the Modern Literature Museum in Marbach.

Work and action

Since the 1950s, Peter Rühmkorf has been attentive, critical and polemical to contemporary history, the cultural scene and developments in literature, especially poetry, with his sharp-sighted and sharp-tongued comments. His essays and speeches prove him to be the heir of the Enlightenment and a fighter for the “high wire” act of combining enlightenment-political goals with the demands of poetry and the rights of the individual.

What the critical works demand, he tried to meet with poetry. His language comes close to artistry: ambiguous language game, puns, amazing rhymes, thought acrobatics, surprising images. Rühmkorf's versatility is the same as that of his literary ancestor Heine, it is the “intellectual-political contraband”. Rühmkorf combines brilliance with borrowing from the poetry of the people, which he has collected and published in its varieties. He is known as an “artistic folk singer”, “witty enlightener”, “subversive linguistic virtuoso” who tells us today's “enlightened fairy tales”. He showed what poetry can be today: “a utopian space in which you can breathe more freely, feel more intimately, think more radically and still feel more coherent than in the so-called real world”.


In the poetry of the 1980s and 1990s, he refuted his work title from 1979, "Durable until the end of 1999". After the fall of the Wall, he opened up a new genre in his diaries between time criticism and autobiography.

On his 75th birthday (2004), the Hamburg Museum of Art and Industry presented an exhibition on the work and life of Rühmkorf Revue - a picture sheet for the 75th . The approximately 850 exhibits gave a historical insight into the poet's extensive private archive.

For the 80th birthday of the writer, the Arno Schmidt Foundation in Bargfeld organized a conference in conjunction with the Nordkolleg Rendsburg from October 22nd to 25th, 2009. The Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg dedicated a memorial evening to its long-standing member on this occasion: “Friends read Rühmkorf”.

In 2019 the Arno Schmidt Foundation is organizing the exhibition “Let shine! Peter Rühmkorf on the Ninetieth ”, which will be on view from August 21, 2019 to July 20, 2020 in the Altona Museum in Hamburg and then in the Schiller National Museum in Marbach. In July 2019, following his request, a step on the Joachim Ringelnatz staircase in Hamburg-Othmarschen was marked with Peter Rühmkorf .




Work edition

Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg.

Appeared during his lifetime

  • In: Between the Wars . Zs., 1952–1956: numerous articles, many of them pseudonymous.
  • Hot lyrics. With Werner Riegel . Limes, Wiesbaden 1956.
  • Earthly pleasure in g. Fifty poems. Rowohlt, Hamburg 1959.
  • Wolfgang Borchert. Biography. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1961.
  • Feats. Fifty poems plus instructions on contradiction. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1962.
  • About the national wealth. Excursions into the literary underground. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1967. (Children's and counting verses , trivial travesties from a hundred years).
  • What does Volsinii mean here? Moving scenes from classic business life. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1969. (play)
  • The years you know Seizures and memories. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1972.
  • Lombard gives the last. A play. Wagenbach, Berlin 1972.
  • The craftsmen are coming. A family drama. Wagenbach, Berlin 1974.
  • Walther von der Vogelweide, Klopstock and me. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1975.
  • Phoenix - go ahead! Poems. pawel pan, Dreieich 1977.
  • Fluid Mechanics I. Poetry. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1978.
  • Best before the end of 1999. Poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1979.
  • See you in Kenilworth. A fairy tale in thirteen chapters. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1980.
  • In the wind. Poems and history. Bertelsmann, Berlin 1980.
  • agar agar - zaurzaurim. On the natural history of rhyme and the human nerves of appeal. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1981.
  • Little spotting. Haffmans, Zurich 1982.
  • The keeper of the dunghill. Enlightened fairy tales. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1983.
  • Bluebeard's last trip. A fairy tale. pawel pan, Dreieich 1983.
  • Remain shakable and resist. Essays - speeches - self-talk. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1984.
  • My reading book. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1986.
  • Nothing but love. Love poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1986.
  • Dintemann and Schindemann. Enlightened fairy tales. Reclam, Leipzig 1986.
  • Obvious and self-rhyming. Poems - thoughts - rays of light. Reclam, Stuttgart 1987.
  • Werner Riegel. "... loaded with shipment. Poet and poor pig ”. Haffmans, Zurich 1988, ISBN 3-251-00119-1 .
  • Unique like all of us. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989.
  • Thirteen German poets. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989.
  • Self III / 88. Out of humor. Haffmans, Zurich 1989.
  • Come out! Chants, fairy tales, tricks. Wagenbach, Berlin 1992.
  • Germany, a fairy tale of lies. Wallstein, Göttingen 1993.
  • Let shine! Memos, fairy tales, TaBu, poems, self-portraits with and without a hat. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993.
  • Tabu I. Diaries 1989–1991. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1995.
  • Poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1996.
  • I feel like in the wide field ... contemplations of a cleared chess piece. Wallstein, Göttingen 1996.
  • The burden, the lust and the cunning. Enlightened fairy tales. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1996.
  • A book of friendship. Rommerskirchen, Remagen-Rolandseck 1996.
  • Lethe with a shot. Poems. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998.
  • if - but then. Penultimate poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1999.
  • From me to you for us. Steidl, Göttingen 1999, ISBN 3-88243-683-2 .
  • Where i learned. Wallstein, Göttingen 1999.
  • with Horst Janssen : My dear friend and company. Jud, Hamburg 1999.
  • with Robert Gernhardt : In common cause. Poems about love and death, nature and art. Haffmans, Zurich 2000.
  • The Song of the Germans. Wallstein, Göttingen 2001. (About Hofmann von Fallersleben )
  • Sparks fly between hat and shoe. Bright spots, tail stars, thunderbolts. Edited by Stefan Ulrich Meyer. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Munich 2003.
  • Tabu II. Diaries 1971–1972. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2004.
  • If I say ME correctly ... A reading picture book. Steidl, Göttingen 2004.
  • Wake up and find again. Poems. Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2007.
  • Bird of Paradise. Poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2008.


  • Self III / 88. Out of humor. New edition. Haffmans at Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt 2009.
  • Correspondence with Kurt Hiller 1953-1960, In: Rüdiger Schütt (Ed.): Between the wars. Werner Riegel, Klaus Rainer Röhl and Peter Rühmkorf: Correspondence with Kurt Hiller 1953–1971. Edition text + kritik, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-88377-997-3 .
  • Dirk von Petersdorff (ed.): The kiss of knowledge - poems. Reclam, Stuttgart 2011.
  • Peter Rühmkorf. (= Poetry album. 293). Märkischer Verlag, Wilhelmshorst 2011, ISBN 978-3-931329-93-8 .
  • Peter Rühmkorf: Goodbye in Kenilworth A cat fairy tale , Insel Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-458-35355-3 .
  • A lot of contradictions fit into my head. About colleagues , ed. by Susanne Fischer and Stephan Opitz. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1171-8 .
  • Marcel Reich-Ranicki and Peter Rühmkorf: The correspondence. Edited by Christoph Hilse and Stephan Opitz. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-8353-1620-1 .
  • All the poems. Edited by Bernd Rauschenbach. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-498-05802-9 .
  • The empire's most ingenious shame. Texts and letters to Walther von der Vogelweide. Edited by Stephan Opitz. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8353-3039-9 .


  • Werner Riegel: Poems and prose. Limes, Wiesbaden 1961.
  • Wolfgang Borchert: The sad geraniums and other stories from the estate. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1962.
  • Primaner poetry, Primaner prose. An anthology. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1965.
  • 131 expressionist poems . Wagenbach, Berlin 1976.
  • The girl from the People's Commune. Chinese comics. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1976.
  • with Theo Rommerskirchen: A book of friendship. Remagen-Rolandseck: Rommerskirchen. 1996.
  • Arno Schmidt: Reading is terrible! The Arno Schmidt reader. Haffmans, Zurich 1997.
  • The story of the crane that wanted to be a ship siren. Prose, poetry, scene & essays. Swiridoff, Künzelsau 2002.

Records and CDs

  • In full possession of my doubts - poetry and jazz - arrangement: Joachim-Ernst Berendt ; Recitation: Gert Westphal , music: Johnny Griffin . Record no. 3 of the TWEN series Lyrik und Jazz , production: Philips , order no .: 10.63.1 TWEN. Date Photo: 1962, Published: 1963.
  • Why is the banana crooked? Record for children. 1971, with Peter Bichsel a . a.
  • The billy goat in the petticoat. Verses and stories for children, collected by Peter Rühmkorf. Vinyl record. 1973.
  • No Apollo program for poetry. Record (with Michael Naura , Wolfgang Schlüter , Eberhard Weber ). 1976 [ECM 2305801 SP]
  • Phoenix ahead! Record (with Michael Naura, Wolfgang Schlüter, Leszek Zadlo ). 1978 [ECM 2305802 SP]
  • Nothing but love. Love poems. Read by Peter Rühmkorf. Der Hörverlag, Munich 1999. 1 CD. (Audio Books.)
  • Robert Gernhardt & Peter Rühmkorf read: In common cause . Raben Records in the Heyne audio book, Munich 2000. 1 MC.
  • Peter Rühmkorf reads poetry and prose. Edited by Harro Zimmermann and Walter Weber. Wallstein-Verlag, Göttingen / Radio Bremen, Bremen 1999. 2 CDs.
  • Rühmkorf, Enzensberger : Born in 1929: Two poets in a double image. Hoffmann and Campe audio books, NDR Audio, Hamburg: 2002. 2 CDs.
  • Günter Grass and Peter Rühmkorf read: Come, consolation of the night. Baroque poetry. The Hörverlag, Munich 2004. 1 CD.
  • Peter Rühmkorf, with Dietmar Bonnen and Andreas Schilling : In the past, when we were still the great rivers ..., Rühmkorf poems with music. Random House 2006. 1 CD.
  • Bird of Paradise. Poems. By, for and with Peter Rühmkorf. Director: Charlotte Drews-Bernstein. Hoffmann and Campe audio books, Hamburg 2008. 1 CD.
  • For and with Peter Rühmkorf - Between Freund Hein and Freund Heine - An introduction to the life and work of Charlotte Drews-Bernstein . A production by the Arno Schmidt Foundation. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg, audio books. 2009 3CDs, ISBN 978-3-455-30667-5 .
  • Jazz & Poetry. Recordings 1976-2006. 3 CDs with booklet. An edition of the Arno Schmidt Foundation (ed.). Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg 2009


  • Theodor Verweyen : A Theory of Parody. Using the example of Peter Rühmkorf. Fink, Munich 1973.
  • Peter Bekes, Michael Bielefeld: Peter Rühmkorf. Beck edition text + kritik, Munich 1982.
  • Edith Ihekweazu: Peter Rühmkorf - Bibliography. Essay on poetics. Frankfurt / Bern / New York 1984.
  • Herbert Uerlings: The poems of Peter Rühmkorf. Subjectivity and experience of reality in poetry. Bouvier, Bonn 1984.
  • Sabine Brunner: Rühmkorf's commitment to art. The Blue Owl, Essen 1985.
  • Arno Schmidt Foundation (Ed.): Arno Schmidt Prize 1986 for Peter Rühmkorf. Bargfeld 1986. (with texts by Jan Philipp Reemtsma , Peter Rühmkorf and Arno Schmidt )
  • Dieter Lamping , Stephan Speicher (ed.): Peter Rühmkorf. His poetry in the judgment of criticism. Bouvier, Bonn 1987.
  • Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Hrsg.): Text + criticism. Journal of Literature. Issue 97. Peter Rühmkorf . edition text + kritik, Munich 1988.
  • Manfred Durzak , Hartmut Steinecke (ed.): Between friend Hein and friend Heine: Peter Rühmkorf. Studies on his work. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989.
  • Lars Clausen : The Finists. In: Mittelweg 36, 1992.
  • Frédérique Colombat-Didier: La situation poétique de Peter Rühmkorf. Lang, Bern 2000.
  • Wolfgang Rasch: Pieces of flowers, fruit and thorns from the archive of Peter Rühmkorf in Hamburg. In: Roland Berbig, Martina Lauster, Rolf Parr (eds.): Zeitdiskurse. Reflections on the 19th and 20th centuries as a commemorative publication for Wulf Wülfing. Synchron Verlag, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-935025-55-6 , pp. 425-442. (In it about Rühmkorf's time as a student in Hamburg.)
  • Wolfgang Rasch: Bibliography Peter Rühmkorf. Aisthesis Verlag, Bielefeld 2004, 2 volumes, (Volume 1: primary literature; Volume 2: secondary literature), Bibliographies on the history of German literature, Volume 13, ISBN 3-89528-476-9 .
  • Theo Breuer : If - but then. In: From the hinterland. Poetry after 2000. Edition YE, Sistig / Eifel 2005, pp. 410–411; Revised version: Peter Rühmkorf's poetry book Wenn - but then from 1999 - tenable to this day (and beyond) . In: Matrix . Zeitschift für Literatur und Kunst , 56th edition, Pop Verlag, Ludwigsburg 2019.
  • Theo Rommerskirchen: Peter Rühmkorf. In: viva signature si! Remagen-Rolandseck 2005, ISBN 3-926943-85-8 .
  • Frank Möbus: Peter Rühmkorf. In: Ursula Heuenkamp, ​​Peter Geist (Hrsg.): German-speaking poets of the 20th century. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 2007, pp. 460-470.
  • Rüdiger Schütt (Ed.): Between the wars. Werner Riegel, Klaus Rainer Röhl and Peter Rühmkorf: Correspondence with Kurt Hiller 1953–1971. Edition text + kritik, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-88377-997-3 .
  • Hans-Gerd Winter: Peter Rühmkorf. In: Franklin Kopitzsch , Dirk Brietzke (Hrsg.): Hamburgische Biographie . Lexicon of persons. Volume 5. Wallstein, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0640-0 .
  • Bernd Erhard Fischer and Angelika Fischer: Peter Rühmkorf in Altona. Edition AB Fischer, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-937434-46-9 .
  • Verena Paul: "Writing with a split pen": Peter Rühmkorf's aesthetic-political double commitment. Röhrig University Press, St. Ingbert 2012, ISBN 978-3-86110-518-3 .
  • Peter Bekes: Peter Rühmkorf. Wehrhahn Verlag, Hannover 2015, ISBN 978-3-86525-386-6
  • Wolfgang Rasch: Bibliography Peter Rühmkorf (2004-2016) . Aisthesis Verlag, Bielefeld 2019, (Bibliographies on the History of German Literature Volume 25), ISBN 978-3-8498-1396-3 (continues the two-volume basic work published in 2004 until 2016).



Web links

Commons : Peter Rühmkorf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In the autobiography “The Years You Know” (1972), Rühmkorf refers to fatherhood right at the beginning; see. Willi Winkler: The poet as a messie. Retrieved December 14, 2019 . .
  2. "pleasure in g" in: Der Spiegel 36 (1966) p. 90f.
  3. Compare M. Naura : No Apollo Program for Poetry
  4. Hans-Jürgen Schaal soaked in jazz / One of us: Peter Rühmkorf (1929-2008)
  5. ^ Maren Schönfeld: Outstanding exhibition about the poet Peter Rühmkorf ,, August 21, 2019
  6. DLA press releases from 2009. ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. PM 032 concerns Peter Rühmkorf. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Article in the NZZ about the new permanent exhibition.
  8. H. Steincke, F. Wahrenburg (ed.): One looks back and looks ahead. Paderborn 2005, p. 53.
  9. “Let shine! Peter Rühmkorf on the ninetieth ” ,
  10. Matthias Schmoock: Unusual honor for Peter Rühmkorf ,, July 30, 2019