"I think there is only one real task for us here: to be Yourself. A stone - be it as small as it may - strong and hard, not just a seeping shell, which anybody can use as next best emergency shelter."
Christine Lavant, one of Austria's most famous yet obscure 20th-century poets, grew up in a small village in a provincial Catholic milieu in Austria's southern province Carinthia as the ninth child of a very poor family. She suffered from eye and ear problems, was pathologically introverted, and supported herself with knitting.
Lavant's poetry is unconventional, filled with neologisms, mysterious and magical, reminiscent of Rainer Maria Rilke. She made her breakthrough with the collection of poems "Die Bettlerschale" (The Beggar's Bowl) in 1956. Lavant was honored with numerous literary awards, among them the Georg Trakl Prize in 1956, and the Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1961. She died on 7th June 1973 in Wolfsberg, Carinthia.
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