German Poetry Today
Hermann Jan Ooster
Silke Andrea Schuemmer
Walther von der Vogelweide
JoFrancis van den Berg
Katharina Körting
Michael Spyra
Helmut Blepp
The Stonecutter – Hermann Jan Ooster

Hermann Jan Ooster

is the perennial Berlin artisan-poet – stonecarver by profession, anarchist by political passion, Berliner and European by conviction, philosopher by default and Lebenskünstler (an “artist of life”) by nature. His many books of poetry include Positionslichter and Die Welt ist ein Museum absichtsloser Katastrophen.

I like this man’s poetry because he takes on the innate rationality and even bureaucracy of the German language and squeezes feeling, yearning, regret, wonder and beauty from it, like an engineer trying to measure and quantify the properties of his heart. And he succeeds – while many of his poems are political critical, the ones I have chosen here are deeply human and full of yearning.

Positionslichter: All 8 Poems from the collection

At the River Oder


The Lament of Verifiable Norms


Space Time Continuum

The Land of God

The 7th and 8th Continents

The Poet’s Dream

The Romantic – Silke Andrea Schuemmer

Silke Andrea Schuemmer

lives in two worlds: She has won prizes for her poetry and written columns in women’s magazines; she has published humorous love novels and been awarded literary stipends. If you even wanted to know how modern poets live and earn their living, this is it. Born in Aachen, living in Berlin, she has published several volume of poems and teaches poetry at a Berlin university.

I am fascinated by her poetry because she is at once an obstructionist and a romantic. She builds intentionally difficult poetic structures (which I can only partially transcribe into English), pushing the grammar to its limits, yet underneath is a deep love for what we used to call the Romantic – trees in the landscape, farmers in their fields, church steeples. Many poems in her latest collection, “Organische Portraits,” describe nature through the perspective of strange things growing in a laboratory.

Spirits 3

Spirits 8

Spirits 19

The Troubadour – Walther von der Vogelweide

Walther von der Vogelweide

is the most famous of German troubadours, or Minnesänger (“singers of love”). He is considered a poet today but really he was a singer/songwriter, and his poems were song lyrics he performed for a wide variety of occasions and reasons ranging from folksy festivals to snobbish courtly gatherings to spreading political propaganda for his patron. German Minnesang can get very theoretical – a lot of his lyrics discuss what love is in an almost analytical way, and he is often credited with raising the idea of love from the practical to a philosophical, larger-than-life level.

I can’t say for sure what attracts me to the Middle Ages so much that I studied medieval literature in Munich, but I can way what I love Walther’s poetry: Though his poems (or song lyrics) are a bit too simple and too talky for modern audiences, I see him again and again building up a metaphor or idea that takes him to strange places, then coming back to his audience and what they want to know: That humanity is a wonder and love is eternal.

The Poet’s Dream

The Opposite of Love

The Beautiful Thief

The Photographer – Jo Vandenberg

Jo Francis van den Berg

gained a Europe-wide reputation as a photographer for high-end advertising campaigns including a famous reenacting of the Da Vinci “Last Supper” painting. In his second life, the Belgian-German has turned to his true passion, writing fiction and poetry, often combining poems about the life-affirming spirituality of nature with photography.

What I like about his poetry is his radical happiness – he looks at life and sees that it is good, even in its discontents. His poems are simple yet deep, and always intensely life-affirming, and these poems are informed by his photographic eye, which sees flowers as the best metaphor for the fleeting beauty of life.

From my Blossoms


The Beautiful Thief

More to come

More to Come

Tha Analyst – Katharina Körting

Katharina Körting

The Rustic – Michael Spyra

Michael Spyra

The Naturalist – Helmut Bleep

Helmut Blepp

What you will get from Substack or Patreon

You will find our Substack newsletter valuable if you are:

– searching for purpose and meaning, or want to become a person capable of achieving something in life; or

– if you write or want to enhance your creativity and understanding of life through writing.

In our free section,

you will find the lessons and insights I have learned in my life and am still learning today:

– from 60 years of life as an outsider in two cultures and on two continents – as a haole in Hawaii and an Ami in Germany;

– from my quest to find purpose, meaning as spirituality, and the truth about the confused world we live in;

– from my fight with depression and life with ADHD;

– from my study of the great books and poetry of the great thinkers in history.

Our exclusive section

is for writers and those learning to write – in it, you will find:

– practical lessons on the craft of storytelling;

– tips on how to enhance your creativity and find meaning and purpose in life through writing;

– my experiences in the world of professional writing, but also as one who explores life through writing.

Subscribe to our Newsletter on Substack

This exclusive content, "Writing is a Sacred Act," is available to both my Substack subscribers and my supporters on Patreon.

If you are someone who consciously thinks about their lives and the world they live in;

if you are driven by a desire to create or achieve;

if you write or are learning to write,

you will love this newsletter.

Subscribe now!

Join us on Substack
Join us on Patreon