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Lavant, Christine (1915-1973)

"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 southern Austria as the ninth child of a very poor family. She suffered from eye and ear problems, was pathologically introverted, and supported herself with knitting. Her poetry is unconventional, filled with neologisms, mysterious and magical, reminiscent of Rainer Maria Rilke. Lavant made her breakthrough with her collection of poems "Die Bettlerschale" (The Beggar's Bowl, 1956). She was honored with numerous literary awards, among them the Georg Trakl Prize in 1956, and the Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1961. Christine Lavant dies on 7 June 1973 in Wolfsberg/Carinthia.