1987 sueddeutsche zeitung: hintze, the golden flood

The golden flood. Book. Poems.
Kiepenheuer & Witsch. 197 pages. ISBN 3-462-01815-9 . Cologne, 1987

Paul Konrad Kurz:
Lyric Heart Mission.  The poems of Christian Ide Hintze

The title is unusual; unusual too the starting point, the pathos, the lyrical faith. “The Golden Flood” fits into the Art Nouveau period or into a neo-romanticist phase.  But into the late 20th Century?

Most authors of verse, when they do not work explicitly with experiments in language, still turn to experiences and events in the real world, to encounters with people, nature and landscape, but also to an engagement with the community, or the confrontation with self.  The starting point for Christian Ide Hintze are texts – mostly poetry – of other writers: by Sappho and Yoko Ono, Anna Akhmatova and Friederike Mayröcker, Lenau and Christine Lavant, Rimbaud and Przybos, Buechner and Bob Dylan, Mao Tse Tung and Milosz, Pablo Neruda and John Lennon. Genuine enthusiasts, among them many drunken poets and singers.

Christian Ide Hintze lives in Vienna, where he was born in 1953. After breaking off his theatre studies he traded in communication studies for living communication on the street.  For five years (1973-1979) in Vienna he handed out texts to passers-by. Admittedly, these passing strangers were unable to answer back to such an approach from so close up. Disappointed, the spontaneous poet pulled back from contact with the crowd. Henceforth he wrote in isolation, and only after a deliberate delay handed over his texts to the literary public.

Hintze's verses do not seek to portray, illustrate or represent a ‘found’ reality. They are, rather, a response to this reality, an opinion, a counter-proposal of a poetic utopia. As a flowing antidote to a solidified (bourgoise) world, Hintze’s texts are not far removed from the former “Vienna Group”, from Jonke’s “Distant sound,” from H.C. Artmann and Gerhard Roth's fantastic creation myths.

Hintze is not after a mimicry of earlier texts, not after paraphrases, juxtapositions of incongruities, parodies. The poems that are not only read, but experienced, reach out to the like-minded. Their images, confessions, rhythms stimulate the author's imagination and set into motion his enthusiasm for language. They liberate the flow of their own images. Because it's not about repetition and variation of the template, it can do without the setting down on paper of the impulsive poem. They function as a spark for his own dithyrambic tide. Anna Akhmatova and Sappho are called on for their “flow of talent”. The two eight-page poems of the title poem “The Golden Flood” follow in the footsteps of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. The past made present is the first. Future promises, the second:

I say, there will come a golden flood. A flood
will come, a golden flood. It will roll over
black lands. It will roll over lands,
black and silver lands. It will flow from tired pores,
from ash-white pores it will flow.  The earth will breathe in heat.

I say, there will come a golden flood. A flood
will come, a golden flood. It will put out the old  
lights. Put out all lights. It will make the fresh streams
holy. The fresh streams of menstrual blood. It will
make the menstrual blood holy. The earth will breathe in colours.

The poetic flood tide will sweep away all that is old, if not the new people too, to liberate, espouse, create a new way of life.  But it is preceded by ‘citizens’ criticism’ “in the style of John Lennon and Paul McCartney”:

Sheerly from too much telephoning, they have grown five arms and three
tongues. Sheerly from a stuffed calendar, a thousand
feet and an orifice back between the jaws. Sheerly from the
career, seven elbows and three as spare parts in the trouser fly.

A transcendent gold-leaf ground once framed late medieval images. In the early days the “golden-winged spring day” was a privilege of Emanuel Geibel. Already a parody, but still sincerely meant, Brecht put in golden lighting to illuminate the songs of his “Threepenny Opera”. In the second half of our century, pop singers have rediscovered the shine of gold. The shortest formula for Hintze's vitalistic flood symbolism is delivered by his “Fairy Tales Updated”:

Golden is the water that flooded the cities, and then the first island.
Golden is the terror that goes into your bones.
Golden is the last hour that strikes, and then the first glances.
Golden is the earth that falls to rubble, and then the first flowers.
So they say, so long as they remain unread, the last words:  
Golden is the world which is nevertheless created when everything is long gone.

The reader detects traces of the expressionist pathos of the shattering world, a pop-vitalistic life with quasi-religious traits.  The senses are to be “free of evil”, the body spiritualised, the soul ecstatically inspired. A new romantic wave that, because of the well-worn tradition it carries, spills over into the “postmodern”? - Subliminally I recognise a connection to Peter Sloterdijk's “fluidal cosmopolitanism” in his critique of contemporary academic philosophy, which “with its desire for scientific certainty forgets the appearance of the incandescent.” (In the 1985 novel “The Magic Tree”). Magnificent is the final (eleven-page) invocation of Sappho and her “colourful throne of eternal Aphrodite”:

Among strangers, a voice from the centre. Exciter of lyrics
You, to whom I bear my woe,
Have mercy on the world without poetry. Give me the strength to found...
Let me invent the new mission of the heart...
I will show them that the crown of our hope
are the people of poetry.  I will stir them to remember your island...  

Whether someone apostrophises Hintze as a post-modern romantic, as a descendant of the Expressionists, as a vagrant nouveau or a shamanistic pop singer, his fans will be little troubled. He has found his own rhapsodic tone. He sends his lyric message, full of hope, armed, close to a poetic childhood, out to a world hostile to poetry: against, for the “paragon-of-fitness” people, the drunken flood.

(Paul Konrad Kurz, in: Sueddeutsche Zeitung No. 265, page 43, Tuesday / Wednesday, 17-18 November 1987. Original language: german. Translated by ad hoc interpreters and translators gmbh, Vienna 2011)