The Stasi Poetry Circle

by Philip Oltermann

£9.99

History

Paperback

9780571331208

Published by Faber & Faber

Published February 2023

Books > History

The Creative Writing Class that Tried to Win the Cold War

In 1982, East Germany’s fearsome secret police – convinced that writers were embedding subversive messages in their work – decided to train their own writers, weaponising poetry in the struggle against the class enemy.

Once a month, a group of soldiers and border guards gathered in a heavily guarded military compound in East Berlin for meetings to learn how to write lyrical verse.

Journalist Philip Oltermann spent five years rifling through Stasi files, digging out lost volumes of poetry and tracking down surviving members of this Red poet’s society, to illustrate the little known story in which spies turned poets and poets spies.

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