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Daily Archives: June 8, 2012
I’ve always thought Günter Grass writes better novels than poems. Remember The Tin Drum, Grass’s hilarious 1959 novel, with its dwarfish protagonist Oskar Matzerath? Of course, you do. Remember What Must Be Said, the dreary, Israel-bashing prose-poem that he published two months ago? Er, not really.
Grass’s latest poem, the subject of which is Greece’s debt crisis, does nothing to change my view that, at the age of 84, he really ought to stop trying to mix politics and poetry. It’s called Europas Schande, which translates as Europe’s Shame. The title gives the game away, doesn’t it?
As Vladimir Putin settles back into the Kremlin, we focus on his vision for Russia‘s domestic politics and its relationship with China and the west. Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, and Neil Buckley, eastern Europe editor, join Gideon Rachman to discuss.