Monday, 25 January 2010

Thomas Bernhard's Gesammelte Gedichte

Thomas Bernhard, novelist, playwright, biographer and poet, born 1931 in Heerlen (Holland), died in February 1989 in Upper Austria.

Two or three days ago Poet-in-Residence, the low-budget bard and banana-box book bargain burgher snapped-up Bernhard's 350-page Gesammelte Gedichte (Collected Poems); a surhrkamp taschenbuch highly praised by the Frankfurter Allgemine's Peter von Matt and originally priced at 19.80DM, there and then available for €5, with almost indecent reptile swiftness when he slithered upon it on the 50% off in the back corner shelf at the old-AKH university campus bookshop, making the there-and-back diversion purely for the purpose of book bargain research when he was, for the second time, on his merry way to the Bernhard Exhibition at the Vienna Theatre Museum, where Beethoven's 9th Symphony with its famous Ode to Joy, now the European Anthem, was premiered (the original Beethoven premier that is) going via the Gösser Bier Klinik (or was it the Tirolerhof?) to betake of a much needed thirst-quenching mineral and vitamin enriched mid-afternoon litre of stout and deal with his daily battle to elevate his basal metabolism by means of a rustical Bauerntoast and an hour later an espresso in a plastic cup dispensed by the museum's hot drinks machine in return for a 50c coin, as a matter of fact. Poet-in-Residence will shortly translate some of Bernhard's gedichte into passable English. Hopefully!

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