Out of the Dust

Klaus Merz

Translated from the German by Marc Vincenz


ISBN 978-0-923389-09-3       $15.00        102 pages


“Klaus Merz shows us what remains until we become dust—and how in spite of this, we can even expose impermanence with great joy. Even while reading, we age. Seldom has one—line by line—moved closer to the inevitable as in these conciliatory yet perishable verses.”



“Klaus Merz has a eye for the substance of things; his poems can be interpreted as lyrical snapshots… [and yet,] despite his knife-edged precise reductionism, his poems are not stark and severe, but often packed with humor and irony...”



“A master of the precise aperçu, of distillation and insinuation: a poet who carefully weighs each and every word, color and tone. An autumn wind wafts through these poems. There is talk of departure, death and impermanence, but also, time and time again, of the beauty of an endangered world. Klaus Merz dares—without wavering, but with a tender meticulousness—to do something that has been the task of poets for millennia…”

—Neue Züricher Zeitung am Sonntag


“A master of the short form who…permits the phenomena to speak for themselves instead of infusing them with an external meaning. With a laconic frugality, he succeeds to enter the substance and metaphysical depth of objects and make them quite visible.”

—Basler Zeitung

Klaus Merz was born in 1945 in Aarau, Switzerland. He has published twenty volumes of poetry and numerous works of fiction, most notably the short story collection “Adams Kostüm” (2001) and the novellas “Jakob schläft” (Sleeping Jack, 1997) and “Der Argentinier” (The Argentine, 2009). Klaus Merz has been awarded many prestigious prizes, including the “Hermann-Hesse-Literaturpreis” in 1997, the “Gottfried Keller-Preis” in 2004, the “Werkpreis der Schweizerischen Schillerstiftung” in 2005 and, most recently, the “Basler Lyrikpreis” and the “Hölderlinpreis” in 2012. His most recent collection of poems is “Unerwarteter Verlauf” (Unexpected Course) (Haymon Verlag, 2014).




Marc Vincenz is British-Swiss, was born in Hong Kong, and has published six collections of poetry: The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees; Gods of a Ransacked Century; Mao’s Mole; Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (a verse novel); Additional Breathing Exercises and Beautiful Rush. He is also the translator of numerous German-language poets, including: Erika Burkart, Ernst Halter, Klaus Merz, Andreas Neeser, and Alexander Xaver Gwerder. Marc is the publisher and executive editor of MadHat Press, MadHat Annual (formerly Mad Hatters’ Review) and MadHat Lit. He is Coeditor-in-Chief of Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, and serves on the editorial board of Open Letters Monthly. He is the founder of Evolution Arts, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes independent presses and journals.