Kirstin Schwab

Austria

Born in 1976 in Graz/Styria, Kirstin Schwab is living as a freelance artist in Vienna; she graduated in acting studies (University for music and performing arts, Graz / Austria) and performed on various stages all over the German speaking area.

Her writing deals with poetry, prose and dramatic text, her poetry volumes TellerRandGänge (edition art science) and Atemraub (edition keiper lyrik) were both published in 2019, in 2017 her solo play Kirstin Schwab sitzt auf dem Sarg und feiert Geburtstag (Kirstin Schwab sitting on a coffin celebrating birthday) premiered.

Kirstin Schwab‘s poetry was also published in newspapers, literature magazines, anthologies and on Austrian broadcast (ORF).

In 2020 the writer was awarded DIXI-Kinderliteraturpreis (children‘s literature) for her text fish with umbrella.


Born in 1976 in Graz / Styria, the poet and actress lives in Vienna now, after a few stops in various German cities and in Salzburg / Austria.

 

She studied acting at the University for music and performing arts in Graz / Austria and performs on various stages all over the German speaking area.

 

Her repertoire as an author comprises poetry, prose and dramatic text; her poetry volumes TellerRandGänge (edition art science) and Atemraub (edition keiper lyrik) were both published in 2019; her solo play Kirstin Schwab sitzt auf dem Sarg und feiert Geburtstag (Kirstin Schwab sitting on a coffin celebrating birthday) came to premiere in 2017; she played in films and on TV and gives theatre workshops all over the world. 

 

In addition, Kirstin Schwab‘s poetry has been published in newspapers, literature magazines, anthologies and on Austrian broadcast (ORF).

 

In 2020 the writer was awarded the DIXI-Kinderliteraturpreis for her children’s book fish with umbrella. It is quite funny to imagine a fish sitting under an umbrella, reading a book, while it is raining underwater – an image that may not only be touching from a child’s perspective.

 

One small part of Kirstin Schwab’s approach to stems from a family background that’s closely connected to art.

 

Her mother – a painter and writer, her father – interior architect. The parents did not only recognize Kirstin´s talent but also encouraged their daughter´s idea of pursuing extraordinary and outstanding professions (“I was thinking about becoming a pilot or probably a background singer – the most important point was: don’t do anything ordinary.”), of leading an uncommon life, following some sort of Pippi Langstrumpf-ideology – developing independence and self-determination.

 

“I love to play with language.”

 

Playing with language, acting – her fascination for vivid creativity is the origin of Kirstin Schwab´s fields of work which are closely connected, of course.

 

“It is crucial to turn your creativity into a profession – not your hobby. And you have to push through the whole process – whether it´s a book or a play – right up until the end.”

 

Ever since Kirstin Schwab was a child, she wanted to become an actress – in the end she decided not to sing in the second row but to perform on stage in, f.i., her solo piece Kirstin Schwab sitting on a coffin celebrating birthday (2017).

 

The training started a long time ago: When her mother once found little Kirstin in tears in the living room, she asked the child what happened. And the answer was quite surprising: “I was just acting.”

 

If you are into dramatic texts, you are into language as well – but for Kirstin Schwab it was not challenging enough to deal with text, to learn it by heart and to perform it (and all of these things would be brave enough); she wanted to develop language and scenes by herself.

She has been connected to writing since her days as a schoolgirl.

 

Even after the decision was made to attend the University for Performing Arts, she still did not lose contact to her writer´s ambitions. But it is not as easy as it may seem.

 

Her mother sometimes stated: “Life can be hard.” Kirstin´s sophisticated answer was:

“Should it be gentle after all?”

 

And of course, it is not – not even if you wanted it to be. And if you are multi-gifted (she is also working as an illustrator, drawing f. i. floating miniatures; to be seen in her second volume of poetry TellerRandGänge) and if you are used to work in various fields, it gets even harder:

„I always feel torn apart. When I am busy with rehearsals there is no time left for writing; when I give lessons, there´s no time for acting… and sometimes I am afraid my poetry could turn out too emotionally because I am used to let things happen physically. As an actress I sometimes can´t help thinking about production, costumes, speech creation. This may cause pain because you cannot be inside and outside the same time – you have to make decisions.” 

 

Kirstin Schwab should not be worried about sound, message and construction of her poetry, though – it is beautiful. As she is used to observing carefully, she precisely knows how to play with / to act within her poetry. She intrinsically knows about striking gestures, how to install them, where they fit – and about the tiniest, gentle movements of language being translated into pictures. 

 

She focuses on family, origin, love and desire, and, of course, on arts – but her works are far away from becoming “dozenstories”. She collects snapshots, covers them in words of silk and satin – fluent and glowing on the one hand – and reveals a rare kind of gentle and surprising wrecking ball on the other hand, when the poetic ego needs to break out.

 

If a poet is able to raise a universe of impressions and – literally – phantastic scenes in the reader´s head, nothing emerges in a trivial way. Kirstin Schwab is able to breathe in beauty and enchantment, when she is watching a dying fly or having silent conversation with a grasshopper on the table. To discover, where the poetic observation ends and the metaphoric line starts, is a good lesson for readers.

„I want to explore theatre and writing.”

„In her poetic debut Kirstin Schwab is reporting breathtaking moments. There are drastic life incidents as well as nuances of daily matters and encounters, instances of awareness as well as reflecting and dreaming, situations of oppressive happiness as well as bad state of affairs and unpleasant assaults lacing up our throat.” 

Helwig Brunner, poet, quoted from the afterword of Atemraub.

 

„Kirstin Schwab’s new poetry called TellerRandGänge unfolds in ironic and dramatic, grotesque artistic moods, seamlessly floating between game and gravity.”

edition art science