José F. A. Oliver

José F.A. Oliver is one of the most ‘important poets of his generation in Germany’ (El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile), and one of the most significant inter-cultural writers of German language today. He writes predominantly in German but is also influenced by Spanish poets such as Federico Garcia Lorca. To date he has published more than 14 volumes of poetry, and has received numerous awards. In 1997 he was awarded with the Adalbert-von-Chamisso-Preis, the most prestigious award for an inter-cultural author in Germany. Mr. Oliver was also guest professor and writer-in-residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. (2002), and at the University of Warwick, UK (2007). Acclaim for Mr. Oliver’s work: ‘José Oliver’s poetry is unique among the works of contemporary writers in Germany. (…) Anybody, who looks in present day poetry for music, for the linguistic and aesthetic experiment, for harmony between breath and image, for sound-crystals, will be amply rewarded.’ (J. Sartorius, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich); ‘We deal with a talent of highest quality, with a poet of entire individual dignity, with a writer of rare earnestness.’ (F.J. Raddatz, Die Zeit, Hamburg). Or as literary scholar Harald Weinrich puts it during the laudation for his Chamisso Award: ‘José Oliver rejects any form of linguistic expression, in German or in Spanish, if it is not thoroughly exploring the foreignness ‘outside’ and the foreignness ‘inside’ oneself, or if it does not teach his readers to live in this world as foreigners and refugees themselves.’ In 2021 he was awarded with the Heinrich-Böll-Preis.


Portrait photo © Privatarchiv Oliver