The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 35 pages of information about The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein.
and the circus clown in the gray rear building who is sighing as he puts on his boots in order to arrive punctually at the performance, in which he must be funny—­all these can produce a poetic “picture,” although they cannot be composed like a painting.  Most still deny that, and for that reason recognize, for example, in the “Twilight” and similar pictures nothing but a mindless confusion of strange performances.  Others believe, incorrectly, that these kinds of “ideal” pictures are possible in painting (for example, the Futurist mish mash).

The intention, furthermore, to grasp the reflex of things directly—­without superfluous reflections.  Lichtenstein knows that the man is not stuck to the window, but stands behind it.  That the baby-carriage is not screaming, but the child in the baby- carriage.  Because he can only see the baby-carriage, he writes:  the baby-carriage cries.  It would have been untrue lyrically had he written:  a man stands behind a window.

By chance, it is conceptually also not untrue:  a boy plays with a pond.  A horse stumbles over a lady.  Dogs swear.  Certainly one must laugh in an odd way when one learns to see:  that a boy actually uses a pond as a toy.  How horses have a helpless way of stumbling... how human dogs express their rage...

Sometimes the representation of reflection is important.  Perhaps a poet goes mad—­makes a deeper impression than—­a poet stares stiffly ahead—­

Something else compelling in the poem:  fear and things that resemble reflection, like:  all men must die... or:  I am only a little book of pictures... that will not be discussed here.


That Twilight and other poems take things strangely (The comic is experienced tragically.  The representation is “grotesque"), to notice the unbalanced, incoherent nature of things, arbitrariness, confusion... is not, in any case, the characteristic of “style.”  Proof is:  Lichtenstein writes poems in which the “grotesque” disappears, without notice, behind the “ungrotesque.”

Other differences between older poems (for example, Twilight) and later ones (for example, Fear) in the same style are detectable.  One might observe that ever increasing idiosyncratic reflections about landscape clearly break through.  Certainly not without artistic purpose.


The third group consists of the poems of Kuno Kohn.

Alfred Lichtenstein


The Athlete

A man walked back and forth in his torn slippers
In the small room
He inhabited. 
He thought about the events
About which he was informed by the evening paper. 
And sadly yawned, the way only that man yawns
Who has read much that is strange—­
And the thought suddenly overcame him,
Like a timid person who gets gooseflesh,

Project Gutenberg
The Verse of Alfred Lichtenstein from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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