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Author: Friederike Mayröcker

Translator: Jonathan Larson

Publisher: The Song Cave (2018)

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 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 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 language and unconventional use of signs and symbols presents to translation, Jonathan Larson manages to convey masterfully the unmistakable singularity of her work.