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This item is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

News and Notes
Friederike Mayröcker

Jena Schmitt writes: The Austrian writer Friederike Mayröcker died on June 4, 2021, at the age of 96. Since her first poems appeared in the journal Plan in 1946, she published over one hundred books of poetry, prose, librettos, plays, radio plays, children’s books and hybrid in-between formats, collaborating with writers and artists including her partner, the poet Ernst Jandl (1925–2000), and winning such prestigious awards as the Austrian Prize for Literature and the Georg Büchner Prize. ‘I went from a purely experimental writing to a kind of narrational writing, though in interviews I have always declined to label my writing as storytelling,’ she said in a 1983 interview with Siegfried J. Schmidt. ‘I don’t want to write stories in any usual sense, but I want to approach a totally unconventional, unorthodox narrational writing, if one can call it that.’ Her experiments with form, genre, syntax, semantics, punctuation, grammar and quotation have led to a dazzlingly evocative and innovative array of texts, ravelments filled with memories, feelings, artistic influences, reminiscences both real and imagined, an accordion-like overlapping of time and place, of the Umwelt or “world around” her and a rich inner landscape. Mayröcker’s most recent collections include Pathos und Schwalbe (2018) and da ich morgens und moosgrün. Ans Fenster trete (2020), and the English translations Requiem for Ernst Jandl (2018), Scardanelli (2018), études (2020), just sitting around here GRUESOMELY now (2021) and The Communicating Vessels (2021), in which she wrote (in Alexander Booth’s translation): ‘…and I sink down and my throat is tied and I wiped ...


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