Founded in the Bay Area by E. Tracy Grinnell in 1999, the first issue of Aufgabe was released in 2001 with the vision of creating a new space for contemporary poetry working within experimental and innovative lineages both in the U.S. and abroad. In its 13 issues, Aufgabe featured new writing in translation from France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Morocco, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Poland, El Salvador, Québec, and India. These feature sections were guest edited and introduced by poet-translators with particular knowledge of trajectories of innovation within these countries, as well as an ability to connect these poets with USAmerican writers. Aufgabe sought to expand local writing communities by establishing a commitment to American writing, expressly including work from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America in each issue, and presenting reviews, interviews, essays, forays and other prose experiments alongside poetry. Issues 7-13 also feature selections of work from a contemporary artist on the cover and interior pages of the journal. Aufgabe provided an annual venue for international literary and artistic interaction, supporting the under-represented work of innovative and experimental poets and translators around the world, and it remains a rich and relevant resource for anyone interested in contemporary poetry and poetics.
When the final issue was released in 2014, Aufgabe had published the work of roughly 700 writers, 150 translators, and 20 artists from 23 countries in an extended act of global literary collaboration that pressured “the text to remain open, as a form of resistance.” All 13 issues of the journal have been digitized and archived at Jacket2 Reissues, a digital, open access platform for magazines committed to poetry and poetics.