Paul-Henri Campbell

Paul-Henri Campbell (born 1982) is a German-American author. He is a bilingual author of poetry and prose in English and German. He studied classical philology with a concentration on ancient Greek, as well as Catholic theology at the National University of Ireland. In Maynooth and the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. 


Alongside essays and narrative prose, Campbell mainly writes poetry. His poetry is based on modern-day mythologies that are staged in a number of scenic impressions like a sequence of snapshots. In doing so, he is close to the Symbolist tradition and the poetry of things (German: Dinggedicht). Inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé´s poem Un Coup de Dés, Campbell is interested in poetry as language in print, that is: the relationship between poetic language and medium representing it. The characters making up a word or a line thus are to play with the surface of the pages holding them. In this way, Campbell attempts at highlighting the materiality of language (the materiality of the logos) as a significant and constitutive element of poetry. For this reason, his poems are never isolated pieces, but part in a large poetic movement, such as the cycle or a book dedicated to only a single theme. His lyrical themes involve things like the Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, the A-train of the New York subway system, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and speed-dating, or the Concorde. His poetry collection entitled Space Race, a lyrical incarnation of the mythologies surrounding the 20th-century pursuit of the moon, comprises precisely this tactic of conceptualization. The main focus is not on the individual poem, but its compositional place, position, and significance within the entire breath of a publication.

Campbell’s contributions have been featured and published in German and American literary magazines including Lichtungen, World Literature Today, Hessischer Literaturebote, entwürfe, and Cordite Poetry Review.

In January 2013, Paul-Henri Campbell has been called onto the editorial board of DAS GEDICHT, one of largest poetry magazines in the German language. Together with Michael Augustin and Anton G. Leitner he initiated the annual anthology DAS GEDICHT chapbook. German Poetry Now. Its goal is to present contemporary German poetry to an international audience in English translation.

He has been awarded with the Dichtungsring translation award and in 2012 became a finalist of the poet-in-residence in Dresden, together with Carl-Christian Elze and Róža Domašcyna.

His publications are: Duktus Operandi (poetry, ATHENA-Verlag, Oberhausen 2010), Meinwahnstraße (short stories. fhl-Verlag, Leipzig 2011), Space Race (potry, fhl-Verlag, Leipzig, 2012), space race (new edition, Allitera Verlag, Munich 2015), Benedikt XVI (audio book, Monarda Publishing House, Halle/Saale 2012), At the End of Days | Am Ende der Zeilen. Gedichte: Poetry. fhl-Verlag. Leipzig 2013.