poet Barbara Köhler

Barbara Köhler

Biography of Barbara Köhler

Barbara Köhler poet

Barbara Köhler was born in Burgstädt, in former East Germany, on April 11, 1959 and grew up in Penig. After leaving school, she spent some time working in the textile manufacturing industry in Plauen, in a care home for the elderly, and as a lighting assistant in the city theatre in Karl Marx Stadt (now Chemnitz). From 1985 to 1988 she studied at the Johannes R. Becher Literature Institute in Leipzig and began publishing work in magazines. After the fall of the Wall, her debut collection, Deutsches Roulette (German Roulette), was published in 1991 by Suhrkamp Verlag. It was followed by many more, including the poetry collection Blue Box (1995) and Wittgensteins Nichte (Wittgenstein’s Niece; 1999).

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I call myself you for thus the distance
between us is eliminated like skin
against skin we are not
to be distinguished or divided one
and the other the border is
the injury the transition
an open wound you call me
I which of the two of us says
here's your knife
make my cut.

Translation: Georgina Paul