Augusta Laar

Austria

Augusta Laar lives in Vienna and Munich. Augusta Laar’s work not only comprises various artistic fields but also transcends to other genres – she is both a poet and a musician; furthermore, she initiates and organizes projects that are internationally represented at festivals and exhibitions. A selection of her projects include Schamrock – Salon der Dichterinnen (in Munich, started 2009), the discussion rounds Poetry-Talk in Munich, Vienna and Luzern and the experimental project viennapoetics in Vienna. In addition, she is involved in Duo Kunst oder Unfall with Kalle Laar.

Her teaching activities are devoted to the areas of poetry, perception and sound – at, for instance, the Goetheinstitut, Schule für Dichtung Wien, Jeunesse Wien, Wiener Festwochen and Literaturhaus München.

Books:
Planet 9, Gedichte, Fragmente, Instruktionen, Berger Verlag A-Horn 2017
summt dem fall, Gedichte, edition art science, A-St. Wolfgang 2016
99 love poems, Gedichte und Schallplatten, Gedok München 2012
weniger stimmen, Gedichte und CD by Kunst oder Unfall, edition selene, Wien 2004.

Zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen in Zeitschriften und Anthologien und im Radio.

Exhibitions (recently): Stand by Me, Galerie der Künstler München 2017; The Reconstruction of Poetry, Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, Riga 2016; Idol +, Rathausgalerie München 2015, Künstlerhaus Wien 2014


Amongst other things Augusta Laar is a member of the World Poetry Movement.

When describing her access to poetry – concerning her own writing as well as operating poetry - Augusta Laar describes it by quoting the surrealistic Japanese poet and painter Shuzo Takiguchi: Poetry is not belief. It is not logic. It is action.

 

And she further explains: „This motive inspires me – also when it comes to my live performances. And when writing poetry, making art. I feel very close to poetic action. At the beginning of 20th century – let‘s say for the first three decades – Munich used to be a centre of young writers’ and artists’ rebellions in a quite revolutionary way. I‘d like to see Schamrock-Salon and Schamrock festivals in this tradition.“

This brilliant and – meant in the most positive sense - wilful poet, is a gifted and sedulous organiser with the keen intention to promote female poetic voices. By referring to Irmtraud Morgner’s great statement, Augusta Laar is, again, congenially quoting a famous writer:

„Women’s worst flaw is their lack of megalomania.“

 

In an interview for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (2016) Augusta Laar states: „I have got a rather broad idea of poetry. Thus, from my point of view, the borders between poetry, music and arts are fluent.“

 

The Austrian writer and musician Ernst Molden pays a poetic homage to her work by saying:

„Augusta Laar is the poet I have always been waiting for. When reading her texts, miracles begin to happen – they let you hear all of it: sometimes it’s the rolling thunder of a rock band, sometimes you can hear the Hammond organ subtitling a porn movie, sometimes the reverberation of an underground just gone, often the clinking of ice, then again the sound of reopening wounds. Behind these fragile skeletons of words you can always sense the roaring of the present but you can never hear the rustling of paper.”

 

In her volume Summt dem Fall Augusta Laar invites readers to succumb to the sensations of words and sounds.

 

In 2017 her new volume of poetry was released: Planet 9. The reviews were more than praising:

„Poetry at the extent of planets, the terrestrial planetary system that is exceeded by the number of 9, accompanied by fragments and instructions – this is Planet 9. In it Augusta Laar never loses sight of the larger scale and – already starting with the motto of Planet 9 - she gets rid of any earthly burdens. David Bowie: „Look up here, I am in heaven.“

(…)

At first glance a lot of the word’s meanings are interpreted by the reader as cosmic currency – e.g. Raumpatrouille, Rocket or Bibliothek der Kometen (Library of Comets) – just before they refer back to rather earthly networks of music and emotion after all.

Film particles are newly cut, shaped into a poem and given a premiere, songs of David Bowie and Nick Cave tidy up heads and furnish them in a new style, Prince is strolling around as a poetic dog. (…)

Augusta Laar‘s Planet 9 is a wide open, endless and discussion stimulating space, where particles of poetry meet legalities of physics and music in permanent interchange.“

(Helmuth Schönauer, Gegenwartsliteratur 2660, Nov. 2017)

 

Yéyé – as the legendary Beatniks used to shout out – irresistible magic is circulating within these poems. Sometimes in a strict rhythm, partly as fragments, then again appearing as an enchanting, soft or daring request – called „instructions“ in Augusta Laar‘s poetic universe.

 

In German the etymology of „Lyrik“ (poetry) and „lyrics“ is plain to see and the poet and musician takes this connection for granted – in the same way she is quoting freely throughout the world of arts, catapulting a splendid who-is-who into the orbit of her planets - from classical music, visual arts and literature to the icons of rock & pop.

What is most fascinating about her way of connecting those art forms and icons: It has got nothing to do with bold namedropping, it is completely coherent when, just to name a few, Gertrud Stein, W. A. Mozart, Bela Lugosi, Frederico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Brice and Harry Potter (yes, them too!) or Frank Zappa move onto the stage. The concentrated power of her poetry, that makes her text bright and shining, definitely needs more than just one planet, more than just one orbit.

 

Touchingly beautiful and merciless, these enterings are asking to, for instance, read poems to dead birds – maybe in the Library of Comets, or to have a look at the really ingenious way the poet is able to make the sound of a big bang visible, readable.

 

Little crumbs in the endless space – this is what we are. And in a moment of fear, in an idea of forlornness we might cling to Pink Floyd.

 

After all, the very last poem of Planet 9 (“Raumpatrouille”) bares a touching gesture, a beautiful humbleness and again, it is about music. And about the one, who allows his electric blue to shimmer throughout the volume in a gentle now well-known way: Ground control to Major Tom (…) your circuit’s dead there‘s something wrong – can you hear me Major Tom?

Lazarus has landed. In these poems.