My edition of Concert (Konzert in German)
has for its front cover, naturally, one of Franz Marc's
wondrous postcard paintings which the artist sent to
Lasker-Schuler almost monthly over the years 1912-14.
Marc would perish in WW I at Verdun as a soldier in 1916,
one year after another of the author's associates,
the poet Georg Trakl, took his life after the horrendous
battle of Grodek. Misery traveled with Else Lasker-Schuler
whether the death of her beloved mother and brother Paul, and even her
only child, also Paul, from an ill-fated marriage, and still in
Concert we receive a dulcet style of stories, essays, dream-state
vignettes. It was one of the last books published by a Jew before
the rise of the Third Reich. Lasker-Schuler was out of Germany before
Hitler clearly showed his face, and wandering, wandering, eventually settling
elderly and unevenly in Palestine, struggling with the language and never
quite coming to terms with where she was and the Palestine of her dreams.
She would die of heart failure in 1945 after publishing her last book of
poems, My Blue Piano (Mein Blaues Klavier). In 1952
Gottfried Benn declared Lasker-Schuler "the greatest
poetess Germany ever had."
Poetry sails through her prose.
[ BA ]