Innsbruck, Dürer and “Ern Malley”

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Liebe Leserinnen und Leser, hier findet ihr Information über diese Geschichte.

This is a postcard that was found in an old book, used as a bookmark by the previous reader. It’s Albrecht Dürer’s Hof der Burg zu Innsbruck (Innsbruck Castle Courtyard), and in the mild hopes of finding out exactly where this spot is and what it looks like now, I began by googling the words ‘Dürer’ and ‘Innsbruck’, which led me to this image —

durer-innsbruck

Innsbruck mit dem Blick auf den Patscherkofel (View of Innsbruck with Patscherkofel)

— as well as to a strange poem with an amusing story attached. It was part of a “collection” by one late, great unknown poet named Ern Malley, which was actually all a hoax cooked up by two Modernist poets in Austria  Australia, serving in war duty in the 1940s, in order to trip up the very young editor and founder of a successful modernist poetry magazine. The threw together a parody of late modernist poems, invented a fictional author who died young, and a sister who “found” the works and submitted them to the magazine. The hoax was a success, the young editor received them excitement, sure he had made a great discovery. Well.

The first poem, by the way, was called “Dürer: Innsbruck, 1495”:

I had often cowled in the slumbrous heavy air,
Closed my inanimate lids to find it real,
As I knew it would be, the colourful spires
And painted roofs, the high snows glimpsed at the back,
All reversed in the quiet reflecting waters –
Not knowing then that Durer perceived it too.
Now I find that once more I have shrunk
To an interloper, robber of dead men’s dream,
I had read in books that art is not easy
But no one warned that the mind repeats
In its ignorance the vision of others. I am still
The black swan of trespass on alien waters.

Das erste Gedicht wurde übrigens “Dürer: Innsbruck, 1495” genannt.
[Paschberg macht einen Versuch, das Gedicht zu übersetzten. Fast zu gut..!]

Oft umfing mich die schläfrig schwere Luft
Meine leblosen Lider schließend, wirklich zu finden
wie um die Erscheinung der farbigen Türme wusste
und dier bemalten Dächer vor dem Hintergrund das hohen Schnees
alles gestürzt in den stillen spiegelnden Wassern
damals nicht wissend, dass auch Dürer das wahrgenommen
Jetzt erkenne ich mich wieder, geschrumpft
zu einem Eindringling, einem Räuber, eines toten Mannes Traum
In Bücher hab ich gelesen, dass Kunst nicht einfach ist,
doch niemand warnte vor dem Wiederholen der Gedanken
in der Unwissenheit der Visionen . Ich bleibe
der schwarze Schwan des Friedensbruchs in fremden Gewässern

The authors claim they pulled words out of reference dictionaries at random and from what came to mind. This first poem, however, had been an earlier serious attempt, edited to make it somehow more “late modernist”, a style the authors did not like at all. I’m guessing “I had read in books that art is not easy” is one of the “improvements”…Die Autoren behaupten, sie hätten die Wörter zufällig aus Wörterbüchern und in freier Assoziation genommen. Das erste Gedicht ist jedenfalls ein früherer ernsthafter Versuch, bearbeitet um es irgendwie Spätmodern klingen zu lassen, ein Stil, der den Autoren überhaupt nicht gefiel. Ich nehme an das „In Bücher hab ich gelesen, dass Kunst nicht einfach ist“ eine der „Verbesserungen“

Over the years, the fictional poet Ern Malley has taken on a kind of minor cult fame in Australia. He’s got his own website, and the story and poems have become the inspiration for other works over the years. Im Lauf der Jahre wurde der fiktive Dichter Ern Malley in Australien zu einer Art Kultobjekt. Er hat nun seine eigene Website und seine Geschichte und seine Gedichte wurden im Laufe der Zeit Inspiration für andere Arbeiten.

1st image from the author; 2nd image found here

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