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Distributed for Seagull Books

Collected Poems

Rainer Brambach, one of the most widely appreciated Swiss poets in the 1950s and ’60s, was notorious for walking to the beat of his own drum, denying convention and standing his ground against popular styles and trends. He grew up in Basel and left school at the age of fourteen to become a manual laborer. He spent much of World War II in prison and in labor camps, an experience which greatly influenced his writing. After the war, Brambach began to make his name as a poet. Recognition and awards notwithstanding, Brambach remained an outsider in the literary world and lived for many years in poverty.

Marked by his disregard for material values, a profound engagement with the landscape of the Upper Rhine, and a lasting commitment to humanity, Brambach’s poems are direct, unadorned, and free of pomp or ideology. His quiet images conjure up landscapes, small rural scenes, and interiors of bars and cafes. Brambach was, above all, an observer whose poems provide insights of deceptive simplicity that form a poetic essence confirming the significance of this author’s voice. This collection of poems, masterfully translated by noted writer and poet Esther Kinsky, represents the first major English translation of a significant European poet.

164 pages | 5 x 8 1/2 | © 2014

The Seagull Library of German Literature


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Collected Poems comes to us as the first volume in translation to fully present this worthy poet to an English-speaking audience. While largely forgotten on the international scene today, in Switzerland Brambach remains an important literary figure much admired for his often melancholic, always insightful little poems that present the bucolic landscapes of his adopted country in disquieting light. Concise they may be, but they leave room on the page for the mind to linger in contemplation.”

Rain Taxi

Table of Contents

Translator’s Note

Toss a Coin



Lumberjack Bar

The Greenhouse, My Abode

March in Basel


In Those Times

Day’s Labour


The Axe


At the Hoarding


By the River

It Was Loneliness that Forced Me

In the Afternoon

Toss a Coin

Letter to Hans Bender

Dreamt Poem

Old People’s Home

Light in August


Sung Landscape



There Will Be

Richterswil I

Richterswil II

Brief Note

Le Lavandou


Late Morning


Merriment in the Garden

Achim Raabe

The Wind Break

Summer Sunday

The Tree

Dog Days

Evil Tricks

Report from the Garden

One Day among Many

Brooding Summer

Indentity Card

Day in July



Sant Eremo

Under Apple Trees


Portrait of a Young Man

The Erratic Rock

In July and August


Words for W.

Belated Icarus

No One Will Come


Death of a Centaur

Endangered Landscape

Single Men

Organic Fault


The Stranger

The End of Something

Visit in M.

Setting Sail

Southern Town

The Gingko Leaf

Poem for Frank

You beside Me

Coming Home

A Leaf in Memory of September

Hard Times for Drinkers

Back Then

In the Vineyard

Goodbye to the Eiffel



Beyond Rijeka

Black Forest

Athletics for Hares


Lucky Charms


Late in the Evening



Dark Day

Flight Time

Straw Flowers at Farewell

Pigeons When Sleep Is All I Long for

Hotel Room

Caution Should Be Called for


Also in April

‘The year still young…’

‘No sweet green glade…’

‘As it has been raining…’

‘My ancestors never left…’

‘So many wonders in this world…’

‘Dust is still an alien word…’

‘The ribbon blue as Mörike saw it…’

‘The maypoles standing tall…’

‘Not strange at all…’

‘The birds are shouting…’

‘The evening’s still far away…’

‘Your strength Ulea…’

‘A stiff old-fashioned straw hat…’

‘High noon, Sunday afternoon…’

‘Me with my prose…’

‘Perpetual begetting…’

‘Summer evenings…’

‘Not wanting to be part…’

‘Concrete can be so ugly…’

‘Surely the summer…’

‘To live in a sunflower…’

‘Fly a kite…’

‘To write a poem…’

‘Month of wine…’

‘Westwind with its unspeakable force…’

‘Taking a bite…’

‘The rows of vines…’

‘The cottage gardens…’

‘Last day of October…’

‘Free time…’

‘Must a summer poem…’

‘Sitting by the window…’

‘A postcard from the Caribbean…’

‘Ice grey, a wolf word…’

‘My four and sixtieth winter…’

‘Rust-red Reynard…’

‘Picked up a handful of snow…’

‘Ten degrees below zero…’

‘Foehn wind in February…’

‘Never put to paper…’


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