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PN Review 276
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This article is taken from PN Review 276, Volume 50 Number 4, March - April 2024.

Resting Places: The Writing-Life of Friederike Mayröcker Jena Schmitt
Requiem for Ernst Jandl, translated by Roslyn Theobald (Seagull Books, 2018) £14.50

Scardanelli, translated by Jonathan Larson (The Song Cave, 2018) £13.70

études, translated by Donna Stonecipher (Seagull Books, 2020) £18.99

From Embracing the Sparrow-Wall or 1 Schumann-Madness, translated by Jonathan Larson (OOMPH! Press,
2019) £10

There are many photographs of the Austrian writer Friederike Mayröcker seated at a desk, piles of papers and books tilting this way and that like Towers of Babel. Bookshelves are filled to the brim, spines faced out, spines faced in, boxes and bins, bags and tins, more papers, some rolled up like papyrus scrolls, a writing system of overlapping notes and pictures held together with clothespins and dangling from shelves and walls, containers of pencils and pens, a long-armed lamp, a black telephone – every conceivable surface covered, Mayröcker in the middle of it all.

And there are other Mayröckers – hunched over a typewriter; reading a newspaper at Café Sperl; her face reflected in a mirror or picture frame (Friederike Mayröcker, 1998, by the photographer Nikolaus Korab); with her partner, the poet Ernst Jandl – lounging in the sunshine in 1953; at a reading in 1974; receiving an award (1969); bundled up against the cold and kissing in 1996; sitting in an office, 1969, or living room, 1984, more books, more paper, more pictures, more notes against the dappled silver wallpaper, a woodstove to warm them in the corner. And my favourite, seated at an ornate sofa (1994), Mayröcker with a crown askew on her ...

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