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Ellipses denote the omission of one or more grammatically necessary phrases. This rhetorical figure can also affect the prosody of a poem, which has been observed in poetry since the Dadaists. A special interpretation comes from Otto Lorenz, who sees the silence of authors such as Hölderlin, Rilke or Celan in poetry as "indexical signs" for that which cannot be identified and represented in language. The "transcendence of God" (Hölderlin), the "excess of personal memory" (Rilke) or the "incomprehensible suffering" of Celan, for example, cannot be represented in language. The deictic-elliptic spelling of these authors serves this lyrical silence. At the same time, it refers to the secrecy that must or at least can be articulated by the reader afterwards.

Regarding Friederike Mayröcker's poetry literary scholar Beda Allemann, on the other hand, explained the elliptical through the term "association fugue", in which individual elliptical sentences, sentence remnants and words are combined by non-causal motivated connections. Similar methods can be found, for example, in Elke Erbs' poetry, which dealt intensively with Mayröcker's work after 1989 and expressed her admiration for Mayröcker by using so-called "text echoes". One example of Erbs elliptic language is the poem Ursprüng­liche Akku­mulation from the 1998 volume "Mensch sein, nicht", which transforms a key term of Marxism into a fragmentary poem based on the use of a combinatorial technique.

Thomas Kling's or Marcel Beyer's poetry also makes use of such brittle word and sentence ellipses, which can be described with Mayröcker as "poetic synthesizing". Ulrike Draesner's linguistic idiom also goes back to these influences of authors such as Kling or Mayröcker, whose line jumps, ambiguities and elliptical sentence structures return, for example in the volume für die nacht geheuerte zellen. A similar destruction of the lyrical syntax by ellipses, anacoluth and permutations is found in Paul Wühr's poems. Wühr uses elliptical sentence structures, remains, fragments and individual words, whereby his poems express a provocative enigma, a so-called "poetics of the wrong". In Hendrik Jackson's lyrics, on the other hand, the elliptical method is more associated with the principle of hermeticism and is accordingly described with the term Dunkelströme (dark torrents). Current examples of elliptical poetry can also be found in poems of Isabeella Beumer or Daniela Seel.


Allemann, Beda: Experimentelle Dichtung in Österreich Neue Rundschau, 1967, S 317 ff.

Brandstädter, Mathias: Präsenz per Absenz. Bemerkungen zum Hintergrundrauschen einer Ästhetik der Aussparung bei Ror Wolf, Hermann Peter Piwitt und Thomas Lehr. In: Literatur für Leser, 2, 2007.

Lorenz, Otto: Schweigen in der Dichtung : Hölderlin, Rilke, Celan; Studien zur Poetik deiktisch-elliptischer Schreibweisen, Göttingen 1989.