The German Poetry Project

Poetry on demand - Poetry for pleasure

My name is Fritz Stavenhagen who has conceived and implemented this project. I am a professional speaker, actor and stage director whose voice has been in demand for decades on radio, television, records and CDs. Here I present spoken German poems for all those who love German literature, are studying the German language, or would like to sample the rich treasury of German verse, which is by turns beautiful, inspiring, critical and humorous.

On this site you can listen free of charge to a collection of more than 1800 German poems representing a personal selection from the German literary heritage. It presents a cross-section of German poetry from its beginnings in the works of Walther von der Vogelweide, Gryphius, Fleming, Klopstock and Claudius to the most famous authors of the classic period, Goethe, Schiller and Hölderlin, and the 19th-century poets Eichendorff, Brentano, Heine, Mörike, Lenau, Platen, Droste, Fontane, Storm, Liliencron and Busch, all the way through to the early modern period represented by Nietzsche, Morgenstern, Ringelnatz, Rilke, Trakl, George and Hofmannsthal.

In 2011, on the tenth anniversary of my audio anthology, I decided to add two final chapters, thus expanding my collection to the recent present with a list of another twenty modern authors. The first spoken poems are online by now, and hundreds more are on my agenda. So I expect this project to keep me busy for years to come.

Visitors to this site can look for poems according to author, literary era or category/theme. This audio anthology is a personal survey of German poetry, and it is constantly being expanded. You can also download your favorite poems individually, as you please and for a small fee only, from this growing collection, thus creating your personal collection of German poems of classic beauty. Listening to the spoken poems on this site, however, will remain free of charge.

In a second phase of the project, I hope to enhance visitors' listening pleasure by adding musical accompaniment to the poems - for example, to Heinrich Heine's poem "Schelm von Bergen". This series of poems and music will be released on a CD. You can find more recordings - of myself and others - by clicking on Schatzkiste.

And now, as the curtain goes up, prick up your ears...