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Henry Moore Institute

Egon Altdorf: Poems + Images

Egon Altdorf: Poems + Images

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Throughout his life, the German sculptor, printmaker and stained-glass artist Egon Altdorf (1922-8008) wrote poetry.

His earliest poems, written during military service and as a prisoner of war, reflect upon nature, poetry and art. Beginning a new life as an artist, post-war, he explored how the human figure might be depicted through increasingly abstract representations, while refining his poetry to create 'a new, free, melodic' language with 'a simple, song-like beauty'.

Illustrated with woodcuts, sculpture and stained glass, Poems + Images is the first edition of Altdorf's poetry with parallel English translations. It includes previously unpublished poems, written as a prisoner of war in the United States, as well as a cross-section of later poems exploring the artist's origins, his faith, and his interest in dreams, the seasons, light and darkness. Presenting Altdorf's poetry alongside his art reveals a powerfully interconnected vision shaped but not defined by war: a humanitarian outlook informed by a profound spiritual belief.



Foreword Judith LeGrove

Poems 1942-45
I lay between rocks, in a dream
I wanted solitude
Sublime, lonely cathedral
Look, just a snowflake!
Man and Death
I would rest like a tree
The night in its silence
Outside my window
On Rilke's 'Duino Elegies'
But for this tree and light
On Rembrandt's painting

Poems 1946-2000

My Origin
What banished me to these doubts
Gate of night, thrown open
Blue Day

David Plays before Saul
Falling Angel
Black Angel

Sense of Form 1946
Carved Gothic Foliage
Orpheus plays beside the moon-tree

By moonlight
Night in her cool starry splendour
Children of the Plough
Nocturnal Messenger

The Language of Red Apples
The Time of Falling Leaves
In rain-soaked avenues
In the falling snow

Magna mater
Encounter with the Angel
'Sun Wing'
Sun Wing

Foreword to Circle of 7 Gates

Afterword Michael Trevor



About the editors

Judith LeGrove is a writer who has worked extensively with artists and their archives. Recent publications include Geoffrey Clarke: a sculptor's materials (2017), Into the Light: The Art of Egon Altdorf (2023) and Kenneth Draper: On the Edge of Sculpture (2023).

Michael Trevor worked for many years as a production designer. His credits include The Secret Agent (BBC 1992, from Joseph Konrad's novel), The Ice House (BBC 1997), and a short film by Christope Gérard, Annotations (2001). He has longstanding interests in architectural history, poetry, and German literature.


Product details

Language: English (poems also in the original German)
Binding: Softcover
Length: 120 pages
Dimensions: 190 x 180mm (portrait)
Publisher: Sansom & Company (2023)

ISBN-13: 978-1-915670-12-0

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