Did poetry evolve before prose Why

Lyric proseThe fear of death

Friederike Mayröcker calls the fragmentary notations with which she experiments in her new book "bricolages", alluding to Claude Lévi-Strauss. These are short, half- to two-page texts on the border between poetry and prose, which the poet put on paper over two years; every single one of these texts is meticulously dated and sometimes designed in idiosyncratic spelling. There are fragments of prose and memory, scraps of association, snippets of perception and thought that Mayröcker orchestrated freely.

"only that: after saying goodbye to the unloved school service, back in '69, only that: this language: this way of dealing with my beloved German language, which you know only HEIMAT, pressed to your heart until the end, oh only this beguiling cape with my language which HOME: tearful, which image, frenzy, which writing tablet, code "

Friederike Mayröcker:
"This writing has become so terribly important for me because I can actually only realize myself by writing. I am not a person who can speak well, I am not a person who can tell someone something. I prefer to be silent. I walk a lot reluctant to be around people. And I just couldn't experience myself any other than writing. "

Difficult to say what Mayröcker's "études" are about. In their poetic whimsy, their privatistic-enigmatic hermeticism, these texts refuse any narrative meaning. Something like consistency, stringency, dramaturgical coherence will be sought in vain in Mayröcker's "études".

Friederike Mayröcker:
"I am of course aware that this letter is a grace, in a religious sense, a grace that one has received, perhaps even before birth, but for which one has to commit something. Grace is given to one, and for that one has to do something. I have learned in my life that I must respond to this grace with diligence. "

And she is hardworking, the "Sappho from the Zentagasse" in Vienna-Margareten. The "Directory of Available Books" lists 94 titles from Mayröckerscher production - a rich oeuvre, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Her love for writing, according to the author, results from a certain shyness and shyness:

Friederike Mayröcker:
"I was always afraid, a loner, even when I was at school. I never had several friends. I was scared of all sorts of things. I was afraid of the teachers and my classmates. I remember that Cinderella was supposed to be played there once I was in a private elementary school and I was chosen to play the Cinderella, which was horrific for me.

There was a pond in our school garden, that was at the "Englischen Fräulein" in Nikolsdorfergasse, and I got so scared that I couldn't do it. I only had one sentence to say. It was so horrific for me that I thought to myself, I have to jump into this pond to save myself from this Cinderella existence. It was awful. I couldn't speak that one sentence. "

But she can and was able to write many, many sentences, the shy author who has lived and writes in her hermitage, which has been filled with thousands of books, slips of paper, and manuscripts in the fifth district of Vienna for decades.

Friederike Mayröcker is a serious poet. But: In one or the other "étude" something like humor flashes, for example in the memory of an encounter with the writer Volker Braun in the former GDR, whereby the reader doesn't really know whether one imagines this encounter as being or have to imagine real.

"Volker Braun's birthday":

"... I say this prose by Volker Braun to him in a very big class, I kissed him 3 decades ago in the Academy of Arts, I say," The midday meal ": Insel-Bücherei No. 1289, there is a hype about him, etc. ., WHO knows how to make prose, I say, knowledgeable, Brecht, GDR, autumn month, moon in the zenith because I sleepless at the window at night, haven't met him for decades, oh (scrubbing) in the forests of the GDR at that time I met him there? do not remember his face very big class this prose by Volker Braun, "Das Mittagsmahl" ... at night wolves: GDR, ultrasound of sensations, father child, at night, sleepless, leaning against the window, Christa Wolf, Elke Erb, Heidrun Loeper, oh he knows how to do prose ... "

Again and again in Mayröcker's texts - understandably - the topic of aging and death comes up with a strong melancholy accent:

Friederike Mayröcker:
"Death is really the greatest enemy of a person who has been active all his life, in an artistic profession for example, and who then for some physical reason can no longer work. That is such a punishment."

"I sit across the bed or sprout bed
the violets on my grave came 1 crow and screamed
at the window that frightened me ("mother is dead and
Sister is dead and never comes 1 spring ")
when the moon sinks and the stars sink, oh!
the waves of the sea. Letter ripped rave and smoke
or it was sounded, Reseden dreamed at the
Loire "our lady of the journey" namely
I was WRATCHED while you were standing on the hem
of the forest and beckoning "

Friederike Mayröcker:
"All of my work actually speaks of the fear of death. Maybe I'll write against death. Maybe every artist does that by working against death. As long as you can work, you also defend yourself against death."

Friederike Mayröcker's "études" are difficult, difficult, tricky reading. Anyone who engages in the Sibylline pull of Mayröcker's language will not be able to completely escape a feeling of mysterious delight into which one sees oneself plunged by this lyrical, prosaic fireworks display.

Friederike Mayröcker: "études"
Suhrkamp-Verlag, 192 pages, 19.95 euros.