A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Gerald Jatzek

Gerald Jatzek - YouTube

with Gerald Jatzek:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Gerald: I started to write a book when I was eight. When I had finished the second chapter, we formed a soccer team, and I forgot about my plans.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Gerald: That’s a difficult one. I tried to learn from Kavafis, Mayakovsky, Ritsos, Eluard, Parra and others. And, well, Kafka is not an influence; he is the godfather of modern literature.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Gerald: I come from a working class neighborhood in Vienna, which means I grew up bilingually in Standard German and Viennese dialect and its different occurrences in the form of sociolects.

Traveling was especially important when I was young and felt like suffocating in the conservative Viennese atmosphere where the elders suffered from amnesia regarding the atrocities of the Nazi era.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Gerald: My poems for children.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet/writer?


As I mentioned, I come from a strictly working class background. Accordingly, everybody I knew either worked (even mothers of five) or was out of work. I heard about artists and writers in school, but they belonged to another world.

I finished secondary education thanks to state grants – which were given to the likes of us for the first time in Austrian history after the social democrats were elected in 1971.

After school I studied to become a teacher and worked in what nowadays are called McJobs. It all changed during my second year. In June hundreds of activists squatted in the buildings of a former slaughterhouse and converted them into a complex of counterculture. Two months later I traveled overland to Afghanistan, India and Nepal. In Kathmandu I decided to make a living as a writer and journalist.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Gerald: Guitar (mandolin, ukulele) playing; reading; etymology and languages; evenings with friends, wine, and music; traveling; relaxing in Greece.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Gerald: I have nothing to promote right now. I’m working on a manuscript with very short stories and a book with Viennese anecdotes (both in German). A collection of poetry for children in English is nearly finished, but I have no idea where to publish it.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem or song of yours? Any favorite piece of art?

Gerald: From “The sea” (work in progress): ” seven trillion lines of code, this poem / hijacked by guerilla currents”

Octavio Paz: “I search for an instant alive as a bird” (“Busco una fecha viva como un pájaro”)

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Gerald: A lot of people who don’t know. Sometimes, I overhear a half-sentence from a conversation on the street, or I read a line from a torn poster, and it’s a powerful writing prompt.

Poetry from Anthologies by Gerald Jatzek

Poetry: No Miracles to Come by Gerald Jatzek

Poetry: Holiday Mass by Gerald Jatzek

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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