Monday, September 02, 2013

A Translation of "Dichter über Georg Trakl" by Thomas Bernhard

Poets on Georg Trakl [1]

This month marks what would have been the seventieth birthday of the poet Georg Trakl.  The Akademiker has posed to a number of young poets the following question: “What does Georg Trakl mean to me?”  The answers are as follows:

For world literature Trakl will never have the significance of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé; he does not even merit comparison to a man like Lorca (1889-1936); but in Austria he has contributed something lasting to modern poetry in his capacity as a singular lyricist of distinction, probably because he, like few others, had a talent for despising and being despised—most penetratingly by the householders and muleteers of his native city of Salzburg, which has not changed a jot since his time.
Trakl’s influence on my work was devastating; if I had never heard of him I would have come a lot farther by now.

[1] Editors’ note: First published in Der Akademiker.  Zeitschrift des österreichischen Akademikerbundes, Vienna, February 1957.


Translation unauthorized but Copyright ©2013 by Douglas Robertson

Source: Der Wahrheit auf der Spur.  Reden, Leserbriefe, Interviews, Feuilletons.  Herausgegeben von  Wolfram Bayer, Raimund Fellingerund und Martin Huber [Stalking the Truth.  Speeches, Open Letters, Interviews, Newspaper Articles.  Edited by Wolfram Bayer et al.](Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2011).

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