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Friederike Mayröcker’s work has been to live and to write, continually and daringly exploding the limitations of language. Her collection études, published in 2013 by Suhrkamp, is a poem arranged by date, spanning 14.3.11 (or 3/14/11) to 16.12.12 (or 12/16/12). It begins as an invocation of bricolage: agglomerate epigraphs, motifs, typographical motifs (»guillemets« ; ++++++++++ ; underlines ; ALL CAPS ; ........ ; drawings ; etc.), quotations, gossip, seasonal changes, weeping, dreams, memories, song lyrics, moods, lilacs and mimosa trees, anecdotes branch and twine so that the poem = the poet’s life. Images, motifs, and rhythms interweave the ongoing poem, and in this selection, ‘tears’ cascade from poem to the next, among others. The material of life produces the subject of the poem; Mayröcker’s singular project has been the making of literature. From “So she lives as she writes: with growing courage, to distance oneself from the normative syntax, to play with it and to make new creative classifications and arrangements.”


JD Larson

JD LARSON is a poet and translator living in Brooklyn. His published and ongoing translations are principally of the Austrian writer Friederike Mayrocker, author of études. Selections have appeared in Asymptote Journal, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and Kadar Koli, He teaches in the German Department at NYU.

Friederike Mayröcker

Friederike Mayröcker was born in Vienna in 1924. She began publishing in 1945, with her first significant work Tod durch Musen (Death by Muses) appearing in 1966. She has written over eighty books and has been awarded numerous titles, including the Georg Büchner Prize in 2001. Her daring and inventive work is widely regarded as regenerating German language poetry over the last seven decades.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2015

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