August Stramm (1874-1915) is now mainly remembered for the poems that he wrote during WWI and were published posthumously as ‘Tropfblut’ by Herwarth Walden in 1919. Stramm’s poem ‘Vorfrühling’, however, was written in 1913-14 and published in Walden’s expressionist magazine ‘Der Sturm’ in April 1914, on the eve of the Great War. Inspired by Nietzsche, the Futurists and his friendship with Walden, Stramm’s ‘Vorfrühling’ is a noisy, violent and syntactically deconstructed poem, which captures the wild and unpredictable weather in early spring. In loosely constructed sentences, larded with alliterations, neologisms and exclamation marks, Stramm sketches desolate skies, slashing rains, howling winds and clouds chasing one another while bursting open like cadavers. As such the poem does not so much hold a promise of spring but rather heralds the approaching destruction of World War I.
‘Early Spring’ has been published in a limited edition of 15 hand made copies. English translation: Ben Schot, with thanks to Ralf Friel. More info & order