22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Joachim Zünder

Portrait Joachim Zünder
© Sandra Schaab

German poet Joachim Zünder was born in Troisdorf in 1956. He originally studied biochemistry in Berlin and worked as a chemical laboratory assistant. After that, he went on many long trips, mainly through Europe’s north and, until 1999, lived in various places in Germany and abroad.

Joachim Zünder mainly writes poems that have been published in various literary magazines – »Sprache im technischen Zeitalter«, »Signum«, »Akzente« (tr. Language in a technical era, Signum, Accents). His first volume of poems, »Die Neigung der Nacht ins Gegenverständnis« (tr. The Tendency of the Night Towards a Counter-understanding) appeared in 1985, followed in 1996 by the volume »Skizzen von einer Reise durch den Schlauch« (tr. Sketches from a journey through the tube). More attention was afforded the volume »Rauchgeister« (tr. Spirits of the smoke), which Joachim Zünder published in 2011 in the independent publishing house he founded in the same year with Sandra Schaab. This is a collection of poems ans metaphorical miniatures collected from the years 1995 to 2007. For the book cover of this most recent publication, which was designed by Friedrich Forssman, Joachim Zünder selected a picture of Finnish painter and video artist Osmo Rauhala, that shows the body of a mysterious animal thus already drawing reference to the mythical dimensions in the texts contained within the volume.

Zünder’s winter stays in the Baltic region and in Finland influenced the collection of poems atmospherically. The white of the snow stands in stark contrast to the black of the printed letters that make up the poems: »In the evenings, very bright in the woods, the snow carries the light, even in the darkness. The snow reflects one’s alertness. Here you can write in the dark, because the darkness is not dark.« The white of the winter is set contrapuntally against the written word and motivates it. Joachim Zünder releases his own consciousness through the process of writing poetry: »Poetry – a free-speaking consciousness released from all constraints and restrictions.« This process of intellectual discovery aims towards one’s inner self, at the vague and undetected; poetry becomes a means of finding one’s way tentatively towards the light hidden within the darkness: »The poetic word lives from its imprecision, its not knowing, its darkness, which shines in the innermost place.«

The German Academy for Language and Literature will be reading the volume of poems as part of the »Lyrical Quartett« in June 2012. The poet lives in Berlin.