Sarah Kirsch was a German poet.
She was born Ingrid Bernstein in Limlingerode, Prussian Saxony. She changed her first name to Sarah in order to protest against her father's anti-semitism. She studied biology in Halle and literature at the Johannes R. Becher Institute for Literature in Leipzig. In 1965, she married the writer Rainer Kirsch. She protested against East Germany's expulsion of Wolf Biermann in 1976, which led to her exclusion from the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). One year later she left the country herself, nevertheless being critical of the west as well. She is mainly known for her poetry, but she also wrote prose and has translated children's books into German.
According to complete review, "the great German-language post-war poets were largely East German (or Austrian) born in the mid to late 1930s which included towering figures such as Volker Braun, Heinz Czechowski" and Sarah Kirsch who was "the most prominent female representative of that generation."
She won many prizes and honors including the German international literary Petrarca-Preis in 1976, the Peter-Huchel Prize in 1993 and the Georg Büchner Prize in 1996.
Kirsch died in May 2013 following a brief but serious illness.
The sky is smoke grey ash grey mouse grey
lead grey stone grey in the land
of sudden showers of continuous thunder
the bloated meadows the gardens
Mornings I feed the swans evenings the cats in between
I walk over grass pass by the ruined orchards
Pear trees grow in rusty ovens, peach trees
Collapse into grass, the fences have long surrendered, iron and wood
Everything rotten and the woods embrace the garden in a lilac bush
Ich habe mir in Ferlinghettis Laden
Einen Fahrplan gekauft und sitze im Pullman-Waggon
Und fahre die Küste ab Tag und Nacht und der Dichter
Spiegelt seinen Kuhschädel im Fenster wir fahren
Once they're supposed
To have formed forests and birds
Also called dragonflies little
Hen-like beings that