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The page of Kling, Thomas, English biography

Image of Kling, Thomas
Kling, Thomas


Thomas Kling was born in Bingen am Rhein, grew up in Hilden and went to school in Düsseldorf. He studied philology in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Vienna and lived in Finland for a certain period. Since 1983 he presented his poems on public performances – first in Vienna, than in the Rhineland. Later he performed together with the jazz percussionist Frank Köllges.

Kling lived with his wife Ute Langanky, a painter, on the museum area of Hombroich (a former rocket station) near Neuss. In 2005 he died in Dormagen of lung cancer. He was buried in Neuss-Holzheim.

Thomas Kling, unquestionably one of the most important German-language poets of the current generation, died on April 1, 2005. At age 47, Kling was already more influential and formative in terms of style than almost any other poet of his generation. As a poet, he was one of the richest in his breadth of material and one of the most powerful in his use of language; on top of that, he was also one of the most controversial essayists in the German literary world of the last fifteen years. His writing ripped German poetry from the existentialist haze of the late 1970s. In Kling’s poems, we can watch an archeologist of language at work. But this archaeologist is also a magician: material from all genres is X-rayed to expose their historic, poetic, and political layers, deconstructed and recombined to form new structures of meaning and sound. “Ripping apart and reconfiguring individual appendages,” Kling calls this technique, “ – writing.”

Kling wrote with encyclopedias, etymological dictionaries at hand and paintings before him, but without sitting in the archive, gathering dust. A well-grounded knowledge of history, literature, geology, and art history fuses in his poetry by way of harsh treatment with writing techniques from the media age (multiple exposures, polyvalent line breaks, cut-ups, alienation of sound and writing) to form sensual ‘language installations’, as Kling called them, which remain gripping despite all the rich knowledge injected into them.


(Editor of this page: Répás Norbert)

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