Rolf Dieter Brinkmann was born in Vechta, Northern Germany on April 16, 1940. In March 1958 he left secondary school after tenth‘ grade. In 1959 he began training as a bookseller in Essen. In 1962 he moved to Cologne where, in 1964, he married Maleen Kramerm and his son, Robert, was born.
From the early 60’s, Brinkmann published poems and prose, his prose being influenced by the nouveau roman. In the mid 60’s, he was one of a group of writers who moved to break down the boundaries between ‚high‘ prose and ‚bold‘ writing. One way of bringing about these change was the adoption of American style beat literature and pop art. In addition to this, Brinkmann began experimenting with super 8 film and photography. Unfortunately, Brinkmann’s aim of influencing literary life in the Federal Republic – too conventional and boaring in his opinion – was not achieved in this way.
At the same time, Brinkmann was dissillusioned with the 1960’s-movement, which he felt displayed a one-side political view point that garnered the public attention. He reacted to these development not only with partly subjective elitist remarks and appearances but also with a growing loss in confidence in his own artistic convictions.
As a result, he continued his search for alternative forms of prose in relative seclusion. He wrote collections of material and made collages which were not published during his lifetime. Evidence of his work during this time are his radio plays and extensive tape-recordings, which are at the same time an aural expression of doubt over the exclusivity of the written form.
In 1975 he had been appearing at an international poets‘ meeting in Cambridge. On April 23, 1975, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann was run over and killed by a car in London, because he looked the wrong way when crossing a road. A German newspaper reported his death as a sensational „death à la Andy Warhol“.
His most seminal works are the novel „Keiner weiss mehr“ and the anthology „Acid“ and a collection of letters „Rom, Blicke“ and the collection of poems „Westwärts 1&2“.
[Translation: Su-Zien Kim, Anna Rank]