Sophie Reyer

- Austria -

Sophie (Anna) Reyer was born 1984 in Vienna. Since 2009 she is member of Graz-based literature magazine "Lichtungen" and head of JugendLiteraturwerkstattGraz for young people aged 14 to 19 at Literaturhaus Graz. From 2011 to 2014 she studied at "Kunsthochschule für Film und Medien" in Cologne.

So far she has published six books of poetry: "geh dichte" (EYE-Verlag 2005), "binnen (miniaturen)" (Leykam 2010). "flug (spuren)" (Edition Keiper 2012), "die gezirpte zeit" (Berger-Verlag 2013), "skarabäen" (art & science 2014) and Hörstück "baumleberliebe" (ö1).

She was awarded Literaturförderungspreis der Stadt Graz in 2007, Manuskripte-Förderungspreis 2009, Startstipendium des bmukk 2009 and Literaturstipendium der Stadt Graz in 2013. Since 2016 she has a PhD in Philosophy.

Sophie Reyer has published three novels – "vertrocknete vögel" (Leykam), "baby blue eyes" (Ritter) and "Insektizid" (Leykam 2014) – and three books of prose "marias. ein nekrolog" (Ritter, Klagenfurt 2013), "Die Erfahrung" (SuKulTur 2013) and "Holzzeitstag" (Taschenspiel 2014).

She has also written various theatre plays, i.e. "baumleberliebe" (S. Fischer-Verlag 2012) and "Anna und der Wulian" (first performance 2014 at Badische Landesbühne).

She is a protagonist in many fields of literary expression – and what seems to be so easy and so playful in her writing, is not only the high art of writing – based on an impressive range of know-how, knowledge and education – it is at the same the high art of pretending to be that easy. Comparable to the delicate act on the balancing beam, where – always provided the absolute bravura thanks to hard training – the laws of gravity lose validity in the eyes of the spectator.


Sophie Reyer, born 1984 in Vienna, is not only one of the most promising and highly praised poets of the younger generation of Austrian writers, she is also musician, playwright, radio play author. Furthermore she is familiar with theatre and film as well as the fields of experimental media and literature.


"Reyer is playing on words, she is laying trails and she is collecting words and details. She succeeds in making snapshots of a damaged world and in drawing gentle sketches of frailty. Her poems are never heavy and black; despite all melancholies they are always light and transparent. (…) As a skilled musician the poet knows exactly where to put a counterpoint or where she may step back in favour of the beat. In this book of poems [flug (spuren) 2012] out of few words an atmospherically dense microcosm rises which – completely free of the usual poetic stereotypes – contains many poetic surprises and stuns. A bewilderment in the most healing sense." Matthias Hagedorn (KUNO, Kulturnotizen zu Kunst, Musik, Poesie, October 2013) is writing enthusiastically about the poet.


Not necessary to mention that even prose and dramatic texts reveal the poet Sophie Reyer – and there is no difference in the basics of her writing if she deals with miniatures or with closed and longer texts. The main tools of her writing are the view and the musicality, which she – despite all the pretended fragility of the result – as relentlessly uses as the chisel is applied in sculpture: She precisely carves out of the material – which is nothing else than the world surrounding – what may be shown, what may be turned into something sounding. Rebirth of the Iron Butterfly. Or to stick to the entomologic picture: Rise of the cicada – the 2003 published book of poems is titled die gezirpte zeit / the cidaded time – "Sophie Reyer draws on a tradition with cicadas playing an important roll. Mostly it is referred to cicadas as singers or symbols for music and art, but also as provokers of noise." (Matthias Hagedorn). The cicada as an image carrier, from Homer till Bachmann and Celan or, to quote Hagedorn again: "The melodic rhythm of Reyers "twittering" ranges from the Russian constructivists around Majakowski to the Wiener Schule and hip hop of Die Antwoord." die gezirpte zeit renders a lot of possibilities for onomatopoetic associations. The gentle is quoted. Summer of cicadas, maybe. Maybe a wren asleep. This is an interpretation of her poems, which Sophie Reyer offers wittingly – and amazingly misleading in the framework of the whole concept. There is no fluting for the friendship book – not even between the lines. And there is no trace of tearfulness, this is quite a feat, a poetic major effort – also because and despite the fact that these poems come to the point mostly in a rigorous manner. Sophie Reyer turns vulnerability and homelessness into her topics as well as an unsentimental view of the world and its conditions. She has to permanently expose herself to writing and analysing with shards on her way. She counters the named fears with an associative method, she omits metaphers, she cores what she has to say – she undresses till recognition, till raw meat. Inbetween raindrops are philandering around in kind lightness. Or the poet developes a furious, powerful overtone: concept hope, staged in a new way. Love may also happen. But never the often – and almost always wrongly – praised "unconditional" love. Hesitantly, carefully, always ready for disillusion, even in the moments of real bliss – that’s the way how Sophie Reyer approaches one of the most complicated topics in poetry. Again and again a stunning and touching collection. (die gezirpte zeit. Neue Lyrik aus Österreich, Berger Verlag, Horn 2013)