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This report is taken from PN Review 82, Volume 18 Number 2, November - December 1991.

Letter from Germany Michael Hulse
From Hans Magnus Enzensberger there is at last a new book of poems in 1991. Not that it would be technically correct to say he had published no poetry since Die Furie des Verschwindens (Suhrkamp, 1980). In the bibliophile series Die Andere Bibliothek, created under Enzensberger's general editorship in the mid-Eighties, a curious anthology titled Das Wasserzeichen der Poesie appeared in 1985. Subtitled 'the art and pleasure of reading poems: one hundred and sixty-four varieties, presented by Andreas Thalmayr' the book was an idiosyncratic compendium of poetic and rhetorical form, from the familiar sonnets and euphemisms and so forth to morse, binary, the computer-readable banding printed on modern products, or translations. The putative editor, Thalmayr, was Enzensberger himself; and, though many of the anthologized iteins were by bona fide German and other writers, many others that appeared over such names as Serenus M. Brezengang were the products of Enzensberger's pen.

But that playful encyclopaedia was no more than an intermezzo. Through the 1980s it seemed that Enzensberger's energies were being invested first and foremost in editorial and essayistic work. His presence as editor, apart from the beautifully printed and bound and deservedly successful Andere Bibliothek, was most apparent in the magazine TransAtlantik (which, like the bibliophile series, offered a first significant platform to Christoph Ransmayr, among others). Enzensberger's essays were collected in three important volumes: Politische Brosamen (1982), Ach Europa! (1987) and Mittelmass und Wahn (1988, all Suhrkamp). The second of these, shorn of the essay on Norway, was ...


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