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Deutsche Lyrik - German Poetry
German a harsh language? Ich glaube nicht!

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German has an undeserved reputation as a harsh-sounding language. One of the best arguments to the contrary comes in the form of German poetry, or deutsche Lyrik. No one who has ever listened to a good reading of German poetry (or even German prose) would claim that German can't sound lyrical and soothing. In this article we take a closer look at German verse, and also point you to related links for Deutsche Lyrik and German Literature. We even have poems by Goethe and Ludwig Uhland, including bilingual poems in German and English for you to enjoy.

Most students of German have their own favorites—perhaps Goethe's "Erlkönig" ("Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?"), Hesse's "Im Nebel" ("Seltsam, im Nebel zu wandern!"), or Rilke's "Herbsttag" ("Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß."). German poetry comes in all forms for all tastes. There's the humor of Wilhelm Busch, Christian Morgenstern, or Erich Kästner. Then you have the ancient romantic German ballads of the Minnesänger or Walther von der Vogelweide (ca. 1170-1228), whose very name slips so easily off the tongue—a poem in itself. The more modern Dichter, such as Joachim Ringelnatz ("Im Park"), Hans Carossa ("Und wie manche Nacht"), the poet and Liedermacher Wolf Biermann ("Kleinstadtsonntag"), or Bertold Brecht of Dreigroschenoper ("Threepenny Opera") fame.

Of course, many of these poetic works have been set to music, in Brecht's case by the German composer Kurt Weill. Biermann writes his own Lieder, and Carl Orff's classic choral work, "Carmina Burana," is a "modern" German work based on a collection of worldly poems written in Latin and German by monks in the 13th century. Many works by the two great German poets, Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, have musical versions. Heinrich Heine's "Lorelei" is one of the most famous German poems ever set to music. In fact, German classical poetry may be best known in the English-speaking world in the form of musical works by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, and other German composers of the classical age. German Lieder ("songs") make up a vital genre in German music, a tradition that has continued into the present day with modern Liedermacher such as Biermann, Franz Josef Degenhardt, Klaus Hoffmann, Hannes Wader, and Udo Lindenberg. (See "German Music/Lyrics" links below.)

So, when was the last time you took a good look at our links for German poetry? Our Literature page has always included sites devoted to poetry in German. But we also have a links page devoted exclusively to Deutsche Lyrik! Below you will find more links to German verse, Lieder and other poetry in print and online.

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Penguin Book of German Verse
A very enjoyable comprehensive collection of German poetry from all ages with English translations beneath each selection. Viking Penguin. Paperback. Compare Prices - Full Review by your Guide.

Bilingual Poems
Poetry by German-language poets in German and English for your enjoyment. From your Guide.

Authors in German Literature
Authors, poets and German literature, with short biographies, selected works and links. You'll find links to many of the poets and authors mentioned here.

The Bible in German
Links and resources related to the Bible in German. From your Guide.

J.W. Goethe
You'll find links to some of Goethe's poetry here. From your Guide.

Shakespeare in German
He may not be German, but don't tell the Germans! Shakespeare is a vital part of the German language and his plays are staged more often today in German than in English!

Ludwig Uhland
Uhland was a German politician, professor and poet! We have some of his verse and links to more. Many of his poems were turned into Lieder by Schubert and other composers. From your Guide.

Deutsche Lyrik - German Poetry
Articles and links related to German verse.

German Music/Lyrics

"MfG" and Fanta4
A German rap song made up almost entirely of German abbreviations!

The Sound of Music... and Lyrics
From Falco to Rammstein, German music and songs offer a pleasant way to learn more German.


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