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Günther Klinge

Günther Klinge

April 15, 1910 - May 27, 2009

Günther Klinge was born in Berlin and was one of the first successful expositors of international haiku. His beautifully produced volumes, in translation by the well-known nature photographer Ann Atwood in the 1970s, helped bring credibility to the idea that haiku might be pursued and appreciated in cultures outside Japan. Through translations (by Atwood and others), his work also appeared in many English-language journals, including Old Pond, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, South by Southeast, Persimmon, Sparrow, and New Cicada. President of a pharmaceuticals manufacturer in Germany, with subsidiaries in Austria and Ireland, he loved to paint, to play the violin, piano, and organ, and was an active outdoorsman. Klinge’s true love was the arts, which he avidly pursued and supported in his spare time. He founded the Günther Klinge prize, awarded yearly in the arts, in his adopted home town of Gautinger, and presented the award himself nearly every year since its inception. He was president of the German-Japanese Association of Bavaria, and the author of five collections of haiku.

Awards and Other Honors: Günther Klinge was the recipient of several German prizes such as the Federal Cross of Merit First Class, and the Bavarian Order of Merit. He was Honorary Senator of the Technical University of Munich and Dokkyo University in Tokyo. In 1986, he was presented with the Order of the Rising Blade by Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

Books Published: [incomplete list] Drifting with the Moon [selected and adapted into English by Ann Atwood] (Rutland, Vt.: C. E. Tuttle Co., 1978); Day Into Night: A Haiku Journey [selected and adapted into English by Ann Atwood] Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1980); Im Kreis des Jahres [photographs by Ann Atwood] (Innsbruck, 1982); Bilder und Worte (Munich, 1990); Eine kleine Sicherheit: Gedichte (Munich,1995); Haiku-Sammlung Rehe in der Nacht [in German and Japanese].

Selected Work
The fragrant forest.
A ladybug flits across
the waterfall’s roar.
Taking my sorrow
into the quiet forest.
The light on the leaves.
After the problems
of the long symposium
pure blue of the sky!
The cool of the night.
Now and then between the clouds
a piece of the moon.
The old mother speaks
saying the same simple things
to flowers and friends.
Indian summer.
Even a small affection
has its urgency.
A woman knitting
in the doctor’s waiting room.
The darkness falling.
A walk in autumn
looking for a beginning
when all has been said.
In the rising fog
the light of the sun went out
unspeakably soft.
A long winter night.
Crowded against each other
old familiar books.

Credits: All poems are from Day into Night: A Haiku Journey (Charles E. Tuttle Publishers, 1980), in translations by Ann Atwood. "The fragrant forest," and "Taking my sorrow" also appeared in a book review in Modern Haiku 11:3 (1980). "A woman knitting" was also published in Modern Haiku 10:2 (1979). All poems also appear in a small affection: a posthumous collection of the haiku of Günther Klinge (Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 14, 2009).

Sources Biography: a small affection:a posthumous collection of the haiku of Günther Klinge (Red Moon Press postscripts series volume 14, 2009).

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