Austrian “Dame Of Experimental Literature” Friederike Mayroecker Dies At 96
Austrian writer and poet Friederike Mayroecker, regarded as “the great dame of experimental literature”, died in Vienna on Friday at the age of 96, her publisher Suhrkamp said.
“All of Vienna is mourning the doyenne of Austrian literature and our honorary citizen, Friederike Mayroecker”, the city’s mayor Michael Ludwig wrote on Twitter as tributes began pouring in.
Born in the Austrian capital on December 20, 1924, Mayroecker began writing at the age of 15.
Forced to abandon her German studies to help support her family, she became a teacher of English in various Vienna public schools in 1946, but dedicated herself to writing full-time from 1969.
“I’m madly in love with language. I need books, I need silence. I don’t like talking. What I have to say, I write,” she said.
Mayroecker, the winner of many prestigious literary prizes — such as the Georg Trakl, Hoelderlin, Lasker-Schueler and Georg Buechner — published around 100 poems, text collages, novels, radio plays, libretti and children’s books during her long career.
The US Poetry Foundation compared her poems to “linguistic collages, mystical or hallucinatory montages of language and experience.”
She herself described the writing process as “a magical state, as if I were on drugs” and said she often wept while working.
She was associated with experimental German writers and artists of the “Wiener Gruppe” or Vienna Group, including poet Ernst Jandl, her long-term companion who died in 2000.
“What I want is to disappear behind my biography. The important thing is the bibliography,” she once said.
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