DIE WELT, FRANKFURTHER RUNDSCHAU (Germany)
The new book of poems, Eintagsfliegen (Ephemera), by German Nobel prize winner Günter Grass, 84, is already causing controversy.
Reviewers who received advance copies describe "touching texts about aging and death," and call the collection "a declaration of love to Germany." But the poem called A Hero In Our Time is bound to cause a new round of trouble for the laureate, with the poem described by one critic as "awkward for Israel" in its celebration of convicted spy Mordechai Vanunu. Grass calls the Israeli nuclear technician and peace activist, who served 18 years for revealing atomic secrets to the British press, a "hero and model" and calls for the "divulgence of military secrets" worldwide.
Earlier this year, Grass’s poem What Must Be Said caused a furor by portraying Israel as a danger to world peace, describing a “first strike” against Iran by a nuclear-armed Israel as one that could “wipe out the Iranian people.”
His former ties to the Nazi Waffen SS coupled with some of his writings has made Grass persona non grata in Israel.
The new collection of 87 poems is being released in time for Grass’s 85th birthday on October 16.
But this time, Israel is not the only one that could take offense to Grass’s writings. The writer also has a go at the Catholic Church that no longer condemns masturbation as a severe sin: "Even our Pope can now do without shame what he has done from early on: We see him smiling, liberated, freed from sin…"