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Sarah Kirsch
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born Ingrid Bernstein on 16 April 1935. Took the pseudonym "Sarah" in about 1960. Married Rainer Kirsch in 1969. The political content of her work, and the fact that she is Jewish, resulted in her being under surveillance by the German government from the 1970s onward. Sarah Kirsch, born in 1935, is perhaps the most important poetry writer of her generation in Germany. In the wake of the protests about Wolf Biermann's enforced exile, she left the GDR for West Berlin. She is a prolific writer with about two dozen book publications, and she has been awarded many literary prizes, including the Georg-Büchner Prize 1996 and the Huchel Prize 1993. Although there are affinities to other poets, such as Peter Huchel and Ingeborg Bachmann, Kirsch's poems on love and nature are innovative center on the precarious balance between humankind and nature, between trust and melancholy. Kirsch confronts the threat to humane life with a defiant "however": She does so in one of her most masterful collections of poems, Katzenleben , recently published as Catlives by the Texas Tech University Press in an outstanding translation by Marina Roscher and Charles Fishman. The tone of her poetry, however, also encompasses humor, as is proven by some of the poems from her most recent publication, Erlkönigs Tochter [1993; Elf-King's Daughter].