Friederike Mayröcker, Grande Dame in German Literature, Dies at 96

Friederike Mayröcker, who was among the many most influential and embellished German-language poets of the postwar interval, died on Friday in Vienna. She was 96.

Suhrkamp Verlag, her Berlin-based writer, introduced the dying.

Though acclaimed as a poet, Ms. Mayröcker ranged much more extensively, producing an immense physique of labor that encompassed almost each literary style: novels, memoirs, kids’s books, drama and radio performs in addition to poetry. (Only a handful of her works have been translated into English.)

Her work was formally creative, a lot of it exploiting the imaginative potential of language to seize the trivialities of every day life, the pure world, love and grief. If it was typically avant-garde, it was additionally deeply private. Her language was exuberant and concentrated, “a kind of continuous torrent of freely associative, passionate language in the service of private obsessions,” because the Irish poet Peter Sirr wrote.

In the 2008 poem “ecstatic morning, for Linde Waber,” Ms. Mayröcker wrote (as translated by Jonathan Larson and printed on the humanities web site Bomb):

on up the mirroring woodpath that’s mirroring from
the evident lake to the appropriate as in direction of us 1 stunning wanderer
and over the roots of the mighty bushes I strayed
whereas the clanging solar that’s the excessive noon mild
dusted by the vaulted treetops

She was the recipient of quite a few awards, together with the 2001 Georg Büchner Prize, one among German literature’s prime honors. It was a distinction she shared with a number of authors who have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, together with Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Elfriede Jelinek and Peter Handke. (She was nominated for the prize in 2004.)

The German Academy for Language and Literature in Darmstadt, which administers the Büchner prize, mentioned in its award quotation that Ms. Mayröcker’s work had “made German literature richer in its very own way with its streams of language, word inventions, and associations.”

The author and translator Ryan Ruby wrote of her, “She is a poet who writes in the intersection between the most personal moment — the passing thought — and the indisputably universal one — individual death.”

After the dying of her companion, the avant-garde author Ernst Jandl, in 2000, Ms. Mayröcker plumbed the depths of her grief in the poem “Requiem for Ernst Jandl.” Exhibiting her frequent liberal use of capitalization, it reads in half (translated by Roslyn Theobald):

I noticed, I heard the track of a chicken
DIE AWAY in an INDIFFERENCE bush,
as a result of I not had eyes for it, nothing
however INDIFFERENT bushes and branches and
shrubs and an INDIFFERENT opening of
mouths the passersby and the INDIFFERENT
phrases of buddies and the INDIFFERENT
chirping of this world overflowing with
abundance — nothing of IMPORT, had neither
eyes nor ears for factor and phrase and picture
and bouquet and ebook and blossom …

Ms. Mayröcker in her research in 1999. Credit…Hans Klaus Techt/Agence France-Presse, through Getty Images

Friederike Mayröcker was born on Dec. 20, 1924, in Vienna and grew up there and in Deinzendorf, a city in Lower Austria. Her father was a instructor and her mom a milliner.

In 1942, when she was 17, she was drafted by the Luftwaffe and labored for it as a secretary, residing in Vienna through the Allied bombing of town.

After attending a commerce academy for highschool, she handed the state examination for English instruction. From 1946 to 1969 she labored as an English instructor at center colleges in Vienna.

Ms. Mayröcker’s earliest printed works included quick poems written for the avant-garde journal Plan, an influential literary assessment printed in Vienna from 1945 to 1948. Inspired by influential prewar periodicals like Die Fackel, it featured younger writers and contributed to Austria’s cultural rebirth in the wake of the Nazi interval.

In the early 1950s, Ms. Mayröcker fashioned hyperlinks with the Viennese literary scene that centered on Ingeborg Bachmann, the Austrian feminist creator and poet. She additionally turned concerned in the Wiener Gruppe (Viennese Group), a unfastened affiliation of Austrian writers with a shared curiosity in avant-garde actions like Dadaism, Surrealism and Expressionism. They would collect at the Café Glory, throughout from the primary constructing of the University of Vienna.

“I had my wildest times when it was pure experimentation for us,” she mentioned of her years in the orbit of the group, in a 2013 interview with Die Welt. Publishers confirmed little curiosity in their books. “For a decade, we wrote for ourselves,” she mentioned.

Ms. Mayröcker met Mr. Jandl in 1954 at a youth literature pageant in Innsbruck, Austria. Married to different individuals at the time, they divorced their spouses to be collectively however didn’t share a house.

“If you want to write something proper, you can’t live with someone,” Ms. Mayröcker informed the Austrian every day newspaper Kurier in 2014.

She and Mr. Jandl fashioned a inventive partnership, producing 4 radio performs from 1968 to 1970 in addition to different works. The first radio play, “Five Man Humanity,” was awarded the 1969 “Kriegsblindenpreis,” the main prize for audio dramas, which have been initially judged by blind conflict veterans.

Her first ebook of prose miniatures, “Larifari: A Confused Book,” appeared in 1956 as a part of a sequence of works by younger Austrian writers. But she didn’t publish her first quantity of poetry, “Death by Muses,” till a decade later, when she was 42. It established her as a number one lyrical voice of her technology.

Shortly thereafter, in 1969, she took early retirement after 24 years of educating English and devoted the remainder of her lengthy life to writing.

That writing was prodigious. A 2003 version of her collected poems, printed by Suhrkamp, holds greater than 1,000 items. Her prose works run to greater than 20 volumes, together with a sequence of memoirs about her and Mr. Jandl. The most complete sampling of her poetry to seem in English is “Raving Language: Selected Poems 1946-2005.”

Ms. Mayröcker as soon as drew a distinction between verse and prose this manner: “Writing poetry is like painting in watercolors. Writing prose is a hard art, like making a sculpture.”

Earlier this 12 months, a number of her autobiographical works appeared in English with the title “The Communicating Vessels,” from Public Space Books. Ms. Mayröcker mentioned her books, which appeared largely in editions of solely a number of thousand copies, had not made her rich. “I live off the prize money,” she mentioned in the Kurier interview.

She left no quick survivors.

Ms. Mayröcker’s most up-to-date ebook, “as mornings and mossgreen I. Step to the window,” printed final July, was shortlisted for the 2021 Leipzig Book Fair Prize. The jury that nominated her known as consideration to the best way she “fuses poetry and prose into ‘proems’ full of infatuations, futilities, fantasies, daydreams.”

Summing up her life in “my heart my room my name,” a 1988 story written with out punctuation, she selected to place issues merely: “I live I write.”

She elaborated in the 2013 Welt interview. “Death is really a tyrant,” she mentioned. “Because you don’t want to leave, but you have to, because he wants you to. You haven’t done everything you want to yet. And I still want so much. I can’t imagine saying at some point before I die: Now enough with the writing.”