Gerrit Engelke was born in Hanover on October 21, 1890, learned the craft of painting and then went to the art school. Encouraged by Richard Dehmel, he began to write poetry. His first poems were published in 1912.
However, Engelke only became really well-known after his death through the volume of poems „Rhythm of the New Europe“ that was published a few years after the First World War. Gerrit Engelke was killed in a rearguard action in France on October 13, 1918 during the First World War. In memory of the great poet, the city of Hanover named the literary prize it awarded from 1979 to 2005 the Gerrit Engelke Prize.
Engelke's literary and artistic estate is kept in the Gerrit Engelke Archive of the Hanover City Library. The collection includes around 770 units of manuscripts of poems, letters and postcards from and to Engelke as well as drawings, graphic sheets and photographs.