Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Volker Braun is as well known for his work as a lyric poet as he is for his plays. He made his literary debut in 1965 with the collection of poetry titled Provokation für mich (1965; provocation for me), and in spite of his steady involvement in the theater, he has kept active as a poet throughout his career, publishing his work at regular intervals. Among the best-known volumes of his poetry are the collections Wir und nicht sie (1970; we and not they), Gegen die symmetrische Welt (1974; against the symmetrical world), and Training des aufrechten Gangs (1978; training of the upright posture). Numerous poems by Braun have appeared in English translation in major anthologies devoted to contemporary German poetry. He wrote some of his most remarkable poetry after German reunification in 1990, when he expressed his sense of loss of identity and apprehensiveness about the future without any false nostalgia.

Although his literary reputation is in large part based on his work as a poet and dramatist, Braun has published important prose fiction as well. The three “reports” in Das ungezwungene Leben Kasts (1972, 1979; the unconstrained life of Kast) are based on his experiences as a construction worker, a student, and a beginning playwright, respectively. A fourth story, focusing on the leadership role of the writer-intellectual in a socialist society and corresponding to Braun’s own increased prominence in the...

(The entire section is 490 words.)