rno Holz was a German writer, poet and dramatist of the Fin-de-Siècle. He collaborated on several plays and published some volumes of literary criticism but Holz was best-known for his poetry cycle Phantasus. Phantasus was published in 1898, part II followed a year later. A modernist poet, Holz intended to revolutionise traditional lyric and poetry. His particular poetic style, as exemplified in Phantasus, was often ridiculed and criticised as ‘telegraph style poetry’.
he poems in Phantasus are characterised by several motifs. There is a tension between the historically accurate portrayal of his turn-of-the-century Berlin environment, and the far-away country so often captured in his imaginary in his imagination and vision. Holz was also a master of capturing liminal moments of experience. His verses are characterised by a choppy, free-style rhythm and he used the physical, aesthetical form of the printed verse to emphasize the sound pictures or 'sound-scapes'of his poems. Similar to Hopkins he used chains of adjectives, chains of associations, sounds effects created by juxtaposition of words and concepts.
ere follow some of Llydien’s favourite Holz poems, in the original German, followed by an English translation. Enjoy.
Schönes, grünes, weiches Gras
In einem Garten
Mich schuf Korinth, ich sah das Meer
Hinter blühenden Apfelbaumzweigen
In einen brennenden Abendhimmel
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