Elfriede Czurda: Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life


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This volume contains almost all of Elfriede Czurda’s first book (with the untranslatable title ein griff = eingriff inbegriffen) and all of her second, Fast 1 Leben. Elfriede Czurda comes out of the Wiener Gruppe’s experimental tradition. She is especially fond of letting repetition and permutation shift words through their whole gamut of meanings — and sometimes beyond. However, she also subverts the rigidities of the experimental imperative. In Almost 1 Life, the avantgarde has licenced “monomania” as official language and punishes misuse by expelling the offender — into reality. Which is where Czurda positions herself. She combines exploring language with exploring the social power structures embedded in it—all with lots of fun and humor.

“Czurda makes strongly visible the fragmentary, arbitrary, non-linear… whole chains of associations flood the reader, or language itself breaks apart. [Her] powerful language is always political.”

—Michael Fisch, Die Berliner Literaturkritik
Elfriede Czurda was born in 1946 in Wels, Austria. After 25 years in Berlin and some as visiting professor in Japan. she now lives again in Vienna. Her work, which includes poetry, prose, essays and radio plays, has received numerous prizes, most recently the Austrian Würdigungspreis for Literature, 2008. Recent books are dunkelziffer (2011), Untrüglicher Ortssinn (2009), and ich, weiss (2008). Essays on her work can be found in Die Rampe: Porträt Elfriede Czurda (2006)

Rosmarie Waldrop has translated, from the German, Friederike Mayröcker, Elke Erb, Oskar Pastior, Gerhard Rühm, Ulf Stolterfoht and, from the French, Edmond Jabès, Emmanuel Hocquard and Jacques Roubaud. Her most recent book of poetry is Driven to Abstraction (New Directions, 2010).