Robert Walser (1878-1956) was born in Switzerland. He left school at fourteen and led a wandering and precarious existence while producing poems, stories, essays, and three novels: The Tanners (1906),
The Assistant (1908), and Jakob von Gunten (1909). In 1933, he abandoned writing and entered a sanatorium, where he remained for the rest of his life. “I am not here to write,” Walser said, “but to be mad.” Robert Walser: The Poems, edited and translated by Daniele Pantano, is forthcoming in 2020 by Seagull Books, London.