Ernst Jandl (German: [jandl̩] ; 1 August 1925 – 9 June 2000) was an Austrian writer, poet, and translator. He became known for his experimental lyric, mainly sound poems (Sprechgedichte) in the tradition of concrete and visual poetric forms.
Influenced by Dada he started to write experimental poetry, first published in the journal "Neue Wege" ("New Ways") in 1952.
He was the life partner of Friederike Mayröcker. In 1973 he co-founded the "Grazer Autorenversammlung" in Graz, became its vice president in 1975 and was its president from 1983 to 1987.
His poems are characterized by German language word play, often at the level of single characters or phonemes. For example, his famous univocalic poem "Ottos Mops" (in English, "Otto's Pug") uses only the vowel "o". Of course, poems like this cannot easily be translated into other languages.
Most of his poems are better heard than read. His lectures were always known as very impressive events, because of the particular way he pronounced his poems. Poems like "schtzngrmm" (his version of the word "Schützengraben" which describes the trenches of the World War I) can be understood only if read correctly. It is an experimental poem in which he tells the sounds of war only with combinations of letters, which sound like gunfires or detonating missiles.
He translated Gertrude Stein, Robert Creeley's The Island, and John Cage's Silence.
Some other of his best-known poems are "lichtung" (also known as "lechts & rinks"[ sic ], in English "light & reft") and "kneiernzuck".
An example of a short poem, written in English:
i never remember my second wife
i never remember my third wife
i always remember what i always remember
ain't ever even had a first wife
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lichtung is a poem of Austrian author Ernst Jandl, which combines deliberations about the directions left and right with a change of the letters l and r, so resulting in "lechts und rinks" instead of "rechts und links". It was published in Jandl's first volume of poems, Laut and Luise, in 1966 and, while it consists of just one stanza, it is among the most cited of Jandl's poetry.
Wilhelm Killmayer, a German composer, wrote several song cycles, which form a substantial part of his compositions. The earliest cycle dates from 1953, the last was completed in 2008. He set poems by German romantic writers such as Friedrich Hölderlin and Joseph von Eichendorff, but was also inspired by French, Greek and Spanish poems, and by texts from the 20th-century poets Georg Trakl and Peter Härtling. He used mostly piano to accompany a singer, but also added percussion or other instruments, and scored some cycles in a version for voice and orchestra. His Hölderlin-Lieder, setting poems from the author's late period, were performed at major festivals and recorded.
"Ottos mops" [Eng: Otto's pug] is a poem by the Austrian poet Ernst Jandl. It is thought to have been written on 20 November 1963 and was first published in 1970 in Jandl's volume Der künstliche Baum [Eng: the artificial tree]. The poem is made up of simple sentences of two to four words that contain exclusively the vowel "o". It tells the story of a short episode in the life of a dog and its owner: after Otto sends his badly behaved pug away, he begins to miss it and calls it back. The reaction of the returning pug is, however, not quite what is expected: it vomits.
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