The poetry of Elke Erb (b. 1938 in Scherbach in the Eifel region of Germany) combines linguistic analysis, discursivity, everyday worlds and subtle references to history, literature and art. Over the decades she has lost nothing of her energy, zest and playful precision.
Erb moved to Halle in the GDR with her family in 1949. There, she initially studied Education, History and German language and literature, and worked by her own decision as an agricultural worker on a state-owned farm, subsequently completing a degree in Education. During this time she made her first literary efforts.
From 1963-66 Erb worked as a volunteer and subsequently as a reader in the Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle. In 1966 she moved to Berlin, writing reviews and preparing opinions for publishing houses on Russian fiction. Her first poems were published in 1968. From 1968 to 1978 she was married to the writer Adolf Endler, who died in 2009. It was at this time that she began translating from the Russian in addition to her own literary production.
Elke Erb has been awarded many prizes for her poetry including the Peter Huchel Prize, the Heinrich Mann Prize, the Erich Fried Prize, the Award of Honour of the Schiller Foundation and the Hans-Erich Nossack Prize for her life's work.
Publications (a selection):
Trost. Gedichte und Prosa. Selected by Sarah Kirsch, Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1982.
Vexierbild, Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin, Weimar 1983.
Kastanienallee. Texts and Commentaries, Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin/Weimar 1987.
Mensch sein, nicht. Poems, Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 1998.
Sachverstand. Werkbuch. Poems, Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein: 2000.
die crux. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 2003.
Gänsesommer. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 2005.
Sonanz. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein: 2008.
Elke Erb at ZVAB
Haus für Poesie supports
DIE VIELEN e.V.