by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Star in My Forehead: Selected Poems by Else Lasker-Schuler

Though American readers may not be familiar with Lasker-Schuler’s poetic output, a new edition, Star in My Forehead, should quickly acquaint us with her astonishing literary gifts. The youngest of six children, Else Lasker-Schuler was born in the Rhineland in 1869 and spent her youth in Berlin. Though trained as a painter, she soon turned to poetry, publishing ten books of poetry and prose during her life; in 1932, at the age of 63, she won Germany’s coveted Kleist Prize. Months later, this much-honored poet was struck by a band of Nazis waving an iron bar. Without packing a bag, Lasker-Schuler went straight to the station and boarded a train for Switzerland. Arriving penniless in Zurich, she was arrested for vagrancy and was rescued by the Swiss literary community, which organized public benefits on her behalf. By painting and writing, she was able to eke out a meager living.

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