Robert Gernhardt, the German department’s Writer in Residence for 2006, died recently. Gernhardt had undertaken his last official trip at the beginning of May to teach for a week at the University. He had been proud to report that his visit had witnessed the successful translation into English of fifteen of his poems, and that they had moved the students to raucous laughter.
Born in 1937 in Reval, Estonia, Gernhardt studied painting and literature in Stuttgart. Together with F.K. Waechter and F.W. Bernstein, he developed a form of self-referential poetry, prose and cartoon, referred to as the 'New Frankfurt School', that is both satirical, playful and comic. From 1962, he collaborated on the satirical magazine Pardon which influenced an entire generation of German satirists. In 1979 he founded the satirical magazine Titanic with Waechter, Bernstein, Eckard Henscheid and others.