Mayröcker, Friederike

(1924–)
   One of the leading lyric poets in German literature in the second half of the 20th century, Mayröcker supported herself between 1946 and 1969 teaching English in various middle schools in Vienna. Her work is often interspersed with snippets of English. The poetry itself, though highly pictorial and often autobiographical, has an objective referent, based on documented events or on her interpersonal relations with known people, especially with her longtime lover and companion, the experimentalist poet, writer, and translator Ernst Jandl (1925–2000). Beneath the surface, however, lies an idiosyncratic psychological subtext, made more opaque still by the absence of poetry’s conventional punctuation; periods, commas, and semicolons are rare. Multiple images drawn from superficially unrelated settings are crowded into short and longer poems. Even seasoned critics have decided to call her work “unique” and leave it at that.
   For all of its demanding subjectivism, Mayröcker’s work has won major prizes in Austria and Germany. Her countrymen awarded her the Georg Trakl Prize in 1977 and the Anton Wildgans Prize in 1981. In 2001, she received the German Georg Buechner Prize.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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