Rolf Dieter Brinkmann

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Rolf Dieter Brinkmann

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (born April 16, 1940 in Vechta ; † April 23, 1975 in London ) was a German poet, writer, editor and translator.

life and work

His father Josef Brinkmann was an administrative clerk at the tax office in Vechta. His mother died of cancer in 1957. After attending grammar school , which he had to leave without a degree at Easter 1958 , he did an apprenticeship in bookselling in Essen . There he met Maleen Kramer, with whom he lived in Cologne from 1962 . In 1964 the two married and their son Robert was born. Brinkmann initially studied education , but soon decided to live as a freelance writer. Numerous shorter stays in London from 1965 onwards brought him closer to the Anglo-American poetry and pop music of that time. From 1972 he was a guest at the Villa Massimo in Rome for one year and in 1974 he was visiting professor in Austin , Texas .

Brinkmann's early prose is based on the aesthetics of the Nouveau Roman . Brinkmann made American underground poetry known in Germany and became Germany's leading underground poet himself in the 1960s. For him, poetry was a mirror image and direct reflection of the factual. The short-lined poems in the early volumes of poetry were followed by succinctly “set” prose poems of enormous vitality and visual power.

The preoccupation with the US avant-garde ( Frank O'Hara , William Carlos Williams ) from the mid-1960s had a strong influence on Brinkmann. The anthology Acid, published together with Ralf-Rainer Rygulla in 1969 . The new American scene is still one of the main testimonies of the American beat generation . The 68 movement and its literary and artistic expressions was Brinkmann rather critical of, although he was "in all his texts versed as expressed in the code of the student movement" shows and also as part of its poetological employs texts intensively with them.

Brinkmann, who repeatedly appeared as a provocative rebel, withdrew from the German literary scene after 1970 and devoted himself exclusively to writing and collaging the so-called "material volumes". In addition, his lyrical opus magnum Westwärts 1 & 2 was created in recent years , which posthumously earned him the Petrarca Prize in 1975 and is still considered one of the most important poetry volumes of the 20th century.

Another major work is Rome, Views, a bundle of letters, notes, newspaper clippings and photos that Brinkmann originally intended as a "material volume" for future projects, with a wild relentlessness on the dilapidated and obscene. The complete works of Brinkmann are published by Rowohlt .

Brinkmann died on April 23, 1975 in London, after, following a reading at the '' Cambridge Poetry Festival '' in front of the Pub Shakespeare the while trying to Westbourne Grove captured to cross, due to the unfamiliar for him links traffic from a car has been.


As a radical literary innovator, Brinkmann had an influence on subsequent generations of poets in the German-speaking world. In memory of the poet, the city of Cologne has been awarding the Rolf Dieter Brinkmann grant since 1990 . In his native Vechta, the Rolf Dieter Brinkmann Society , which existed from 1992 to 2013, paid tribute to Brinkmann's work.

The Rolf Dieter Brinkmann office at the University of Vechta collects and reveals the author's work and impact. She organizes conferences, coordinates research and acquires estates. The city of Vechta published a literary walk in Brinkmann's footsteps in 2020.

The Brinkmann Handbook, published in 2020, presents the complete works for the first time.

In 2005, original sound recordings by the author from 1973 were published under the title “Words Sex Cut”: Harald Bergmann's film Brinkmann's Wrath , which was released in 2006, is based on the original sound recordings.


Brinkmann's first work from 1962
Single track
  • You call it language . Eighteen poems . Edition of 500 numbered copies, e.g. T. signed; Willbrand, Leverkusen 1962. (Extradition prevented by the author.)
  • Le Chant du Monde . Poems. With etchings by Emil Schumacher . Olefer Hagarpresse Rolf Kuhn, Olef / Eifel 1964.
  • The hug . Stories. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1965.
  • Without negroes . Poems. Hand press printing , 150 numbered copies. Collispress / Paul Eckhardt, Hommerich 1966.
  • &. Poems . Oberbaumpresse, Berlin 1966.
  • Caterpillar track . Stories. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1966.
  • What is in question for what . Poems. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1967.
  • godzilla . Poems. Wolfgang Hake, Cologne 1968.
  • Nobody knows anymore. Novel. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1968 / Rowohlt, Reinbek 1970.
  • The pilots . New poems. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1968.
  • Still photos. Poems. Guido Hildebrandt, Duisburg 1969.
  • Grass . Poems. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1970.
  • From the 1972 notebook, 1973 Rome Worlds End. Villa Massimo Druck, Rome a. German Academy , Munich 1973.
  • Westward 1 & 2 . Poems . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1975 / extended new edition, Rowohlt, Reinbek 2005. (In it: one of those classic .)
  • Rome, looks . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1979.
  • Still photos . Poems 1962–1970 . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1980.
  • The film in words. Prose. Stories. Essays. Radio plays. Photos. Collages. 1965-1974. Volume 1 (of 4 planned volumes.) Rowohlt, Reinbek 1982. Contains u. a. How I Live and Why (1970), changed version.
  • Stories. In the pit. The boat trip. The hug. Caterpillar track. What fell under the thorns. Volume 2 (of 4 planned volumes) Rowohlt, Reinbek 1985.
  • Of ice water at Guadelupe Str . Poems. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1985, ISBN 3-498-00492-1 .
  • Escalators in August . Poems. Edited by Chris Hirte. Volk & Welt, Berlin 1986.
  • Explorations for Specifying Riot Feeling: Dreams. Riots / violence / murders. Travel time magazine. The story is told quickly. Diary. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1987.
  • Cuts . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1988.
  • Artificial light. Poetry and prose , Rowohlt, Reinbek 1994.
  • Hello how are you . Stories, Rowohlt, Reinbek 1996, ISBN 3-499-22009-1 .
  • Letters to Hartmut, Rowohlt, Reinbek 1999.
  • introducing my hands. Early poems , Rowohlt, Reinbek 2010, ISBN 978-3-498-00667-9 .
Editor and translator
  • The rubber tree. House magazine for new poetry. No. 1-3. Private printing, Cologne 1969 to 1970.
  • Lunch poems and other poems. With Frank O'Hara . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1969.
  • ACID. New American scene . With Ralf-Rainer Rygulla. March, Darmstadt 1969 / Rowohlt, Reinbek 1983, ISBN 3-499-15260-6 .
  • Silver screen. New American lyrics . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1969.
  • Translator of Ron Padgett : A Poem ( A Man Saw a Ball of Gold ). In: March texts 1. March , Frankfurt 1969 (reprints 1984 / Area, Erftstadt 2004); here p. 52, bilingual. Also in RP: Big Fireballs , Rowohlt, Reinbek, 1973.
  • The jovial Russian . Poem. With Ralf-Rainer Rygulla (based on Guillaume Apollinaire : La jolie rousse ). In: März-texts March 1 , 1969 (reprints 1984, 2004. pp. 70, 72. with note 12. An attempt to adapt the Apollinaire poem according to the sound shape, regardless of the meaning of the content).
  • Guillaume Apollinaire is dead . Poems, prose, collaborations. With Ted Berrigan . March, Frankfurt 1970.
    • Selection: "Three Poems", namely: Personal Poem No. 9; Goodbye (to Dick Gallup); Für Dich (for James Schuyler) bilingual in March-Texts 1, Reprint Area, Erftstadt 2004 pp. 264–271.
Publications in anthologies and magazines
  • Vanilla and notes on my poem "Vanilla". In: März-Texte , March 1st , 1969, pp. 106-140 and pp. 141-144. A text-picture collage and an explanation. Reprint 2004.
  • Interview with a publisher. With Jörg Schröder and others named. In the Reprint Area, Erftstadt 2004, pp. 285–298.
  • How I live and why . In: Renate Matthaei (Ed.): Trivialmythen. March, Frankfurt am Main 1970, pp. 67-73. Again in Area 2004 pp. 387–393. Jörg Schröder & Barbara Calendar


  • Heinz Ludwig Arnold (ed.), Magazine text + kritik , special issue: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. No. 71, 1981, ISBN 3-88377-074-4 Table of contents With commented selected bibliography
  • Johann Reisser: Archeology and Sampling - The Reorganization of Poetry by Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Thomas Kling and Barbara Köhler . Kadmos, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-86599-222-2 .
  • Thomas Boyken, Ina Cappelmann and Uwe Schwagmeier (eds.): Rolf Dieter Brinkmann: New Perspectives. Places, heroes, bodies. Fink, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-7705-4945-0 .
  • Theo Breuer : What's new in the West or Brinkmann continues. In: From the hinterland. Poetry after 2000. Edition YE, Sistig 2005.
  • Maleen Brinkmann: RD Brinkmann. Literature magazine 36. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1995, ISBN 3-498-03892-3 .
  • Karl-Eckhard Carius (Ed.): Brinkmann. Cuts in respiratory protection. edition text + kritik , Munich 2008.
  • Jennifer Clare: Protexts. Interactions between literary writing processes and political opposition around 1968 . transcript, Bielefeld 2016.
  • Roberto Di Bella: '... the wild-spotted panorama of another dream'. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's late novel project . Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2015, ISBN 978-3826050848 . (= Studies on Cultural Poetics. Ed. By Torsten Hahn, Erich Kleinschmidt and Nicolas Pethes; Volume 18) - Table of contents and reading sample
  • Otto Dörner: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann - The poet from Vechta. In: Yearbook for the Oldenburger Münsterland 1987. Vechta 1986, pp. 322-340.
  • Tanja Dückers: The bomb in your head. Even after 50 years, B's lyrics are still sensational. In: jungle. Supplement to jungle world No. 40, October 7, 2010, p. 12f. (To the book edition Presentation of my hands ). Readable online.
  • Markus Fauser: Through Vechta with Brinkmann. A literary walk . Vechta 2020.
  • Markus Fauser: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's Fifties. Out and about in the literary province. Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2018. Reading sample
  • Markus Fauser (Ed.): Mediality of Art. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann in the modern age. transcript, Bielefeld 2011.
  • Markus Fauser, Martin Schierbaum (Ed.): Immediacy. Brinkmann, Born and contemporary literature . Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2016.
  • Markus Fauser, Dirk Niefanger, Sibylle Schönborn (eds.): Brinkmann manual. Life-work-effect . Metzler, Stuttgart 2020, ISBN 978-3-476-02590-6 .
  • Gunter Geduldig, Ursula Schüssler (Ed.): /: Vechta! A fiction! /: The poet Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Secolo, Osnabrück 1995.
  • ders. & Claudia Wehebrink (Ed.): Bibliography Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Aisthesis, Bielefeld 1997. ISBN 3-89528-191-3 .
  • ders. (Ed.): American bacon, English honey, Italian nuts. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann for the 60th ice water. Journal for Literature, 7th year, 2 volumes, Eiswasser Verlag 2000.
  • ders. and Marco Sagurna (eds.): Too much. The long life of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. 2nd Edition. Eiswasser, Vechta 2000.
  • Oliver Kobold: Long, pensive walks. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's poetry and prose 1959–1962 . University publishing house WINTER, Heidelberg 2014.
  • Stefan Greif: “Buzzwords are good, did you get that?” Language and violence with Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. In: Robert Less (Ed.): Violence and cultural memory. Stauffenburg, Tübingen 2005, ISBN 3-86057-219-9 , pp. 139–151.
  • Andreas Moll: Text and picture by Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Intermediality in the late work. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2006.
  • Ulrike Pfeiffer (photos), Friedrich Wolfram Heubach (text): Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Engelbertstrasse 65, fourth floor. Cologne 1969. Belleville, Munich 2020.
  • Hansjürgen Richter: Aesthetics of Ambivalence . Studies on the structure of “postmodern” poetry, exemplified by Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's poetics and the volume of poetry “Westwärts 1 & 2”. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1983.
  • Jan Röhnert, Gunter Geduldig (Ed.): Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. His poems in individual interpretations. 2 vols., Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-022362-0 .
  • Jörgen Schäfer: Pop literature. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann and the relationship to popular culture in literature in the sixties. M & P Verlag for Science and Research, Stuttgart 1998.
  • Stephanie Schmitt: Intermediality with Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Constructions of the present at the intersection of text, image and music. transcript, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-8376-2224-9 .
  • Udo Seinsoth: Catalog No. 20. Bibliography of publications. Antiquariat Beim Steinernen Kreuz (Ed.): Rolf Dieter Brinkmann on his 50th birthday. Self-published, Bremen 1990, pp. 38–57.
  • Ingo Sundmacher: Brinkmann meets Burroughs . Literature and Inter-Media Postmodernism. In: Z. Journal for cultural and human sciences. H. 16, 1998. Fosse , Hannover ISSN  0945-0580 pp. 3-16.
  • Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek: "creating a spontaneous bop prosody": US import and literary rhythm in the work of Rolf-Dieter Brinkmann , in: Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 3 (2014), pp. 369–391.

Radio plays

  • On the threshold , directed by Raoul Wolfgang Schnell , WDR 1971.
  • Visit to a dying city , directed by Ulrich Gerhardt , WDR 1973.
  • The words are bad - Cologne writers' everyday life 1973 - A subjective documentary , directed by Hein Bruehl , WDR 1974.
  • The Last One . Readings by authors Cambridge Poetry Festival 1975. CD intermedium rec, 2005, ISBN 3-934847-46-3 .
  • Longkamp , directed by Ulrich Gerhardt, BR 2008.
  • Cuts , directed by Ulrich Gerhardt, BR 1995.
  • Der Tierplanet , directed by Raoul Wolfgang Schnell , WDR 1972.
  • To a world filled with compromise we make no contribution , director: Ulrich Gerhardt, BR 1996.
  • Words sex cut. Original sound recordings 1973 . 5-CD box, edited by Katarina Agathos / Herbert Kapfer , intermedium rec., 2005, ISBN 978-3-943157-23-9 .


  • Brinkmann's anger. A film by Harald Bergmann
  • Brinkmanns Zorn - Director's Cut by Harald Bergmann . With original material from the media estate of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann: I The Super 8 Films 1967-70 (88 ') - II Longkamp Diary 1971 (69') - III Schnitte Collagen 1972/73 (79 ') - IV The tapes 1973–1975 (105 '), theatrical version.


Although Rolf Dieter Brinkmann did not write any theater pieces, there are some representations of his texts, especially in the first decade of the 21st century.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Here he lived in the Ludwig-Wolker-Heim, a youth home (Josef Breuer: Cold salad and table arrangements? Former residents of the Ludwig-Wolker-Heim in Essen remember the years 1955 to 1963. In: Die Heimstatt. Werkheft für Jugendsozialarbeit 43 (1995), pp. 73-86, 75 ff.).
  2. Article by Michaela Schmitz on the text "London Picadilly Circus" within the reading series of Deutschlandfunk on the occasion of Rolf-Dieter Brinkmann's 75th birthday, broadcast on April 13, 2005.
  3. ^ Rolf Dieter Brinkmann on his 75th birthday on, on May 6, 2015
  4. ↑ He shares this orientation in formal terms with the authors of the Cologne School of New Realism around Dieter Wellershoff ; In terms of content, the importance of Nathalie Sarrautes Les Fruits d'or (French, The golden fruits , 1963) should be emphasized (Barbara Kalender, Jörg Schröder : Kriemhilds Lache. New stories from life. Criminal, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-943167 -39-9 , pp. 247-249).
  5. Jennifer Clare: Protexte. Interactions between literary writing processes and political opposition around 1968 , transcript, Bielefeld 2016, p. 61.
  6. Jürgen Theobaldy was a companion. Olaf Selg: essay, story, novel and radio play. Prose forms with Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Shaker-Verlag, Aachen 2001.
  7. a b Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's position at the University of Vechta
  8. Brinkmann Handbook
  9. Martin Conrads: Let's talk about sex ( Memento from August 28, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) Review in: April 25, 2005.
  10. Udo Seinsoth: Catalog No. 20 . (Bibliography of the publications.) In: Antiquariat Beim Steinernen Kreuz (Hrsg.): Rolf Dieter Brinkmann on the 50th birthday . Self-published, Bremen 1990, p. 39.
  11. see below single publ.
  12. On ACID: Reprint of several texts or translations mentioned here under "March", pagination always according to "März-Texte 1" from 1969, again in: "März-Texte 1 und Trivialmythen" Area-Verlag, Erftstadt 2004, with slightly different ones Page number, ISBN 3-89996-029-7 .
  13. see note on ACID.
  14. see previous note
  15. see above note on Padgett
  16. a b See previous note.
  17. See the note on ACID.
  18. ^ Website for the film Brinkmanns Zorn