Zwei Gedichte. [In:] Insel Almanach auf das Jahr 1930.

Leipzig, Insel-Verlag, [1929].

8vo, pp. 199, [1]; with 8 photographic plates; wood-engraved illustrations in the text; a very good copy in the original printed stiff-paper wrappers, joints rubbed, spine slightly faded.


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First edition: the inclusion of two poems by Kolmar, ‘Die Gauklerin’ and ‘Die Entführte’ (pp. 93–6), represent the first appearance in Germany of any part of her major cycle, Weibliches Bildnis. Two other poems from the cycle, ‘Die Fahrende’ and ‘Die Beterin’, had been published in Zurich in the Neue Schweizer Rundschau in 1929, but the majority did not appear in print until 1938.

Gertrud Kolmar (1894–1943), a cousin of Walter Benjamin and ‘a poet of considerable power’ (Garland), published three volumes of poetry in her lifetime: Gedichte, 1917; Preussische Wappen, 1934; and Die Frau und die Tiere, 1938; all are extremely rare. Her work was banned by the Nazis, and she was arrested in 1943 and died in Auschwitz. A collected edition (Das lyrische Werk) was published in 1955.

See John Bormanis, ‘1932: Gertrud Kolmar completes her poetry cycle Weibliches Bildnis and thus reshapes her identity as a Jewish woman poet’, Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture, 1997, pp. 492–498.

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