Books: Leaves of Grass

SELECTED POEMS by Gunter Grass, translated by Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton. 63 pages. Harcourt. Brace & World. $3.95.

Giinter Grass looks like a slightly sinister Santa Claus and comes loaded with gifts. Renowned as Germany's most powerful postwar novelist (The Tin Drum, Dog Years), this husky son of a Danzig grocer is also a playwright (The Wicked Cooks), a sometime speechwriter (for West Berlin's Mayor Willy

Brandt), a painter and sculptor who exhibits from Berlin to Boston. Further more, as these capable translations prove, Grass is not least of all a poet of...

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