Porcelain is a book-length cycle of forty-nine poems written over the course of more than a decade that together serve as a lament for Durs Grünbein’s hometown, Dresden, which was destroyed in the Allied firebombing of February 1945. The book is at once a history and ‘declaration of love’ to the famed ‘Florence on the Elbe’, so catastrophically razed by British bombs; a musical fusion of eyewitness accounts, family memories, and stories, of monuments and relics; the story of the city’s destiny as seen through a prism of biographical enigmas, its intimate relation to the ‘white gold’ porcelain that made its fortune and reflections on the power and limits of poetry. Musical, fractured, ironic, and elegiac, Porcelain is controversial, too, in setting itself against what Grünbein calls the ‘myth’ of the Germans as innocent victims of a war crime. At the same time, it never loses sight of the horror deliberately visited on an unwitting civilian population, nor the devastation that looms so large in the German memory. Published for the first time in English, on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the firebombing, this edition contains new images, notes, Grünbein’s own reflections and an additional canto—an extraordinary act of poetic kintsugi for the fractured remains of Dresden’s memory.
‘[S]ardonic humor, the savagery, the violent candor—all expressed in lines of cool formal elegance.’—Helen Vendler, New Republic
‘For a rather long time now—approximately, since the Berlin Wall came down—the name Durs Grünbein has been the answer to the question: Who’s the leading young poet in Germany?’—James Fenton, Guardian
‘Grünbein loves to jump from one register to another—one moment he is the street poet of Berlin, the next . . . all marble and ancient philosophy.’—Philip Ottermann, Independent
Praise for the German original of Porcelain:
‘This book destroys illusions; there are none left by the time you finish it. But that’s how it is with great literature.’—Badische Zeitung
If you are ordering from India, your order will be shipped from Seagull Books, Calcutta.
If you are ordering from the US or the UK or anywhere else in the world, your order will be shipped from the University of Chicago Press' distribution centre, Chicago.
Please note: For customers paying in currencies other than Indian rupee or US dollar, prices will be calculated according to the currency conversion rate at the time of purchase and may vary from the printed price.