The Austrian Riveter: TWO POEMS by Michael Stavarič, translated by Sheridan Marshall, introduced by Anna Blasiak

Michael Stavarič came to Austria as a seven-year-old child from the then neighbouring Czechoslovakia. The Stavarič family’s original plan was to go to Canada, so just think – he might have been given to the English language, and not to the German … Not untypically for a person coming from a different language, he explores the language he writes in with deep interest. He picks up on what is surreal, absurd, often grotesque.

they have it good
at the central dairy
they can bathe in milk
if they want to
and there’s never really never
any black smoke rising
from the chimney
there they are the opposite
of the former SS
laughing and packaging milk
children drink it the same day
and the viennese citizen stirs it appreciatively into his coffee
I would like to go to the Prater again on my fiftieth
buy myself a blood-red ice-cream and have a ride on the ghost train
flinch and giggle and think about childhood a bit:

when one of the skeletons grabs you
when the ghosts circle around your head howling with laughter
when the devil flips up in front of you with a mad flick
the trident in his right hand and in his left 
a severed arm or a leg
yes those were the days

By Michael Stavarič

Translated by Sheridan Marshalli

Read The Austrian Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

Buy books from The Austrian Riveter through the European Literature Network’s The Austrian Riveter page.

Michael Stavarič is a writer, translator and lecturer, living in Vienna. His accolades include the Austrian State Prize for Children’s and Youth Literature, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize and Science Book of the Year. Latest publications: Das Phantom (Luchterhand, 2023); Die Suche nach dem Ende der Dunkelheit (Limbus, 2023); Faszination Qualle (Leykam Verlag, 2023).

Sheridan Marshall is the author of Forgetting to Remember: Religious Remembrance and the Literary Response to the Holocaust (Valentine Mitchell, 2014). She has worked for the New Books in German project since 2010, promoting the translation of German-language literature into English, and is Deputy Editor of The Austrian Riveter.

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