Nora Gomringer, born in 1980 to German and Swiss parents, is arguably the best-known poet of her generation in either country, acclaimed for her alternatively playful and piercing poetry as well as her lively performances. She is also director of the international artists’ house Villa Concordia.
A career in literature might have seemed inevitable for the daughter of literary scholar Nortrud Gomringer and leading concrete poet Eugen Gomringer, but as a teenager the author originally trained as a dancer. An understanding of performance, body and rhythm informs her work. Gomringer first made her mark in Germany's emerging slam scene. An influential poetry slammer, in 2001 she co-founded the regular slam event in Bamberg, where she has lived since 1996. 2006 saw her work picked up by publisher Voland & Quist, with whom she has since published prolifically. Around this time she moved away from the slam circuit.
Gomringer's background in performance remains tantamount to her practice: musicality and the evocation of voice and character are key to her poetry, and her collections are accompanied by audio-recordings. Gomringer's earlier collections often explore common poetic motifs from unexpected perspectives and are as notable for their silences as their content – with love poems, for example, which wryly eschew any mention of heartache. Themes from mythology and religion are often used as a foil to contemporary settings. While these poems often deal with personal and lyrical topics, the best-known among them include poems reflecting on the Holocaust, as well as satires of the literary industry.
Gomringer's most recent collections (Monster Poems, Morbus and Mode) form a "Trilogy of Surfaces and Invisibilities" and mark a new phase in her poetics. The collections revolve around horror, illness and fashion respectively, with each poem exploring a facet of the collection's theme, from a rhythmical 'Herpeswaltz' in Morbus to an almost visual representation of a haunted house in Monster Poems. The content tends to determine the poem's form, and the texts are more condensed than her earlier work, occasionally tending towards minimalism. The trilogy is representative of Gomringer's intermedial collaborations, with each poem facing an illustration by artist Reimar Limmer. Gomringer also often collaborates with musicians and filmmakers.
Gomringer garnered attention from Germany's wider literary community on winning the 2015 Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize for her prose text, Recherche. Her prose echoes her poetry, making effective use of linguistic repetition and absence, and interweaving surreal humour with a sense for the tragic.
Gedichte. Self-published, 2000
Silbentrennung. Grupello, Düsseldorf, 2002
Sag doch mal was zur Nacht. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2006
Klimaforschung. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2008
Nachrichten aus der Luft. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2010
Mein Gedicht fragt nicht lange. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2011
Monster Poems. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2013
Morbus. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2015
Mein Gedicht fragt nicht lange RELOADED. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2015
Achduje. Der gesunde Menschenversand, Luzern, 2015
Bamberg Symphonie. With Andreas Herzau. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Berlin, 2016
Mode. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2017
Seit wir uns kennen duftet der abgeblühte Strauch neben dem Haus. With Christiane von Bitter. Kleinheinrich, Münster, 2017
Kleine Menschen. With Michael Stauffer. Der gesunder Menschenversand, Luzern, 2010
Wie sag ich Wunder. With Wortart Ensemble. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2014
Peng Peng Peng. With Philipp Scholz. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2017
Luggage-Centre Andora. Literatur-Quickie, Hamburg, 2011
Recherche. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2015
Gang mit Hermelin. Literatur-Quickie, Hamburg, 2016
Ich werde etwas mit der Sprache machen. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2011
Ich bin doch nicht hier, um Sie zu amüsieren. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2015
Nie gelungen Lied: Der Nibelunge Not. Co-edited with Detlef Goller. Wallstein, Göttingen, 2013
Jahrbuch der Lyrik 2015. Co-edited with Christoph Buchwald. DVA, Munich, 2015
Lautstärke ist weiblich: Texte von 50 Poetry-Slammerinnen. Co-edited with Clara Nielsen. Satyr Verlag, Berlin, 2017
#poesie. Co-edited with Martin Beyer. Voland & Quist, Dresden and Leipzig, 2018