Although Günter Kunert is probably the most well-known of living East German poets, very little scholarly study of his work has been undertaken. Since no popular critical approaches to the subject matter and style of Kunert's poetry have yet been formulated, it would be difficult to begin this essay in the familiar manner of appraising previous criticism. One is compelled, therefore, to investigate Kunert's work on some more fundamental level. In view of this situation, I intend to present a few aspects of the poetry of Gunter Kunert by means of a precise formal analysis of the structure of his poetic language as it is represented in the poem "Schatten entziffern." It will be seen that this methodological necessity is actually a virtue, because Kunert's poetic style is very much a product of his unique, systematic manipulation of the forms of the German language.



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