Jonathan Larson presents a new translation of Friederike Mayröcker’s Scardanelli, published by The Song Cave. We will be joined by Jonathan Larson, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Pam Dick, all reading in celebration of the publication.

In Scardanelli, Friederike Mayröcker, one of the most well-known poets in Austria associated with the experimental German writers and artists of the Wiener Gruppe, continues to sharpen her mystical and hallucinatory poetic voice. Filled with memory and loss, these poems are time-stamped and often dedicated to the friends they address, including Friedrich Hölderlin--"I do often go in your shadow"--who appears in the first poem of the book and stays throughout. Even the title, Scardanelli, refers to the name that Hölderlin signed many of his poems with after having been diagnosed with madness toward the end of 1806. Mayröcker uses her own eclectic reading, daily life, and the scenes and sounds of Vienna around her to find a new language for grief and aging--"I am counted among the aging ones though I would prefer to consort with the young (rose of their cheeks)." Despite the intractable challenges Mayröcker’s layered language and unconventional use of signs and symbols presents to translation, Jonathan Larson manages to convey masterfully the unmistakable singularity of her work.

Tumult, ferocity, flow, exaltation, immersion: Friederike Mayröcker, among the world’s greatest living writers, reinterprets literary vocation as total theater. Swimming through the language-tide, she cuts syntax into new folds and undulations. Responding to her gestural commands, words form constellations, clusters, diaristic strings of inference. Like Kandinsky, she oscillates between abstraction and figuration, and treats phrase-groupings as pungent, aimed vectors, ambushing the senses from the picture-plane’s four corners with floral insinuations and hermetic explosions. She doesn’t narrate; she amplifies and conjures, turning linguistic intake into a synesthetic, intertextual act of voracious reincorporation. Jonathan Larson’s gorgeous translation does Rosenkavalier service, mediating Mayröcker and tuning Scardanelli’s luster into Anglophone receivers. Mayröcker’s bouquet—a notebook, an event, a demand—gives Ponge a run for his money. —Wayne Koestenbaum

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Friederike Mayröcker was born in Vienna in 1924. Since 1956 she has been publishing works of poetry and prose, radio plays, and children's books. She has received countless awards for her writings that include among others the Georg Büchner Prize (2001), the Hermann Lenz Prize (2009), and the Austrian Book Prize (2016).

Jonathan Larson is a poet and translator who lives and works in Brooklyn. His translations of Friederike Mayröcker’s Scardanelli and Francis Ponge's Nioque of the Early-Spring were published by The Song Cave. Recent work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, Gulf Coast, and Lana Turner, among others.

Wayne Koestenbaum has published nineteen books of poetry, criticism, and fiction, including Notes on Glaze, The Pink Trance Notebooks, My 1980s & Other Essays, Hotel Theory, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Andy Warhol, Humiliation, Jackie Under My Skin, and The Queen’s Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). His newest book of poetry, Camp Marmalade, was published this spring. He has exhibited his paintings in solo shows at White Columns (New York), 356 Mission (L.A.), and the University of Kentucky Art Museum. His first piano/vocal record, Lounge Act, was released by Ugly Duckling Presse Records in 2017; he has given musical performances at The Kitchen, REDCAT, Centre Pompidou, The Walker Art Center, and the Renaissance Society. He is a Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and French at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

Lou Pam Dick (aka Gregoire Pam Dick, Mina Pam Dick et al.) is the author of this is the fugitive (Essay Press, 2016), Metaphysical Licks (BookThug, 2014) and Delinquent (Futurepoem, 2009). Her book Moira of Edges, Moira the Tart is forthcoming from Organism for Poetic Research in 2019. With Oana Avasilichioaei, she is the cotranslator of Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (BookThug, 2015). Also a visual artist and errant philosopher, Dick lives in New York City, where she spends her time playing fast and lucid with
abstraction.

Jan 26th 2019