George Trakl (1887–1914) was an Expressionist poet born in Salzburg, Austria. His lyric voice and somber vision of life influenced dozens of American poets, from Robert Bly to James Wright. Trakl believed the poet’s job was to redefine the world by scrambling the senses, and he struggled with drug addiction all his life. By age fourteen, he was already smoking cigarettes dipped in opium, and he later died of an overdose of cocaine. “He was seen as a crazed madman, but he still was an excellent poet,” said his translator Robert Firmage.
Robert Firmage is the translator of several books of poetry by Georg Trakl. He has also translated works by Rainer Maria Rilke, including Rodin, and is himself the author of several chapbooks of poetry. Firmage was born in Salt Lake City and is a professor in the department of philosophy at the University of Utah.