Skip to main content
Read page text

neighbourhoods. Unexpected enjambment gives my lines the freedom to move on, breathe on into the next line and also across stanzas. Enjambment is one of the advantages of poetic language as compared to prose. I need to be absolutely free to decide what a line looks like. Stanza forms often develop between version 7 and 8 and are done away with in version 12 only to return in versions 17 to 18. We all know that language and reality are two things. Language always creates something new, something other than reality. Knowing this gives me freedom or allows me to take liberties. You can make new things with language, you can softly push reality a little to the side, and still there are referential markers that will remain. It is about looseness, lightness. Lightfootedness. To some degree language is relieved of its referentiality, it grows wings when you leave part of the leadership in experience to language. What fascinates me is what in German is called leichtsinnig, Leichtsinn – ‘foolish’ is only one aspect. It is something different from lightness as in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, it hints at frivolity.

Over the years and collections in my native German I have had different phases concerning form, like all writers. I wrote sonnets after I translated Douglas Dunn and still do so occasionally with great amusement. I do not believe in the value of a strict distinction between various registers. I mix neologisms with newly made old-fashioned words. I love to express disrespect hidden in wordplay. Idioms for me are there to be distrusted, played with, by which process their real meaning may all of a sudden become quite obvious. This is part of the heritage and tradition of an Austrian writer for whom scepticism of language has always been essential.

Sometimes a sentence will cross my way without my having worked at it. All of a sudden there is ‘what will become of Anna’s child’ and gradually it finds its place. It is (again) a fairy-tale sentence but in the context of my poem it is deeply cynical. I do not need to know who Anna’s child is. A poem like ‘Thoughtsnow Drifting’ describes a mood that is setting in when it starts snowing,

97

My Bookmarks


    Skip to main content