Raoul Eisele

- Germany -

Raoul Eisele was born in 1991, and lives in Vienna, Austria. He studied German and Comparative Literature. In 2017, his debut collection morgen glätten wir träume was published with edition yara in Graz. He published his second collection in 2021, einmal hatten wir schwarze Löcher gezählt with Schiler & Mücke in Berlin.

Eisele’s works were awarded numerous literary distinctions in 2019, and he received several writing grants in 2020, including the Startstipendium für Literatur der Stadt Wien, and an Artist-in-Residence at the Salzburger Künstler*innenhaus. Beginning in Fall 2021, he will spend three months at the Schriftsteller*innenhaus Stuttgart as the city’s Writer-in-Residence. He will also spend time in Residency at the Kunstatelier Paliano this year.

In 2021, his play for young adults, in einem Land ohne, debuted at the WUK in Vienna; his audio drama immer wenn ich falle: Klippenspringerin debuted at the Hörspielsommer Leipzig.

A Confusion in the Air ...

and in the verses which Raoul Eisele emailed me: the secret energy of every day, what Gabriel García Márquez called la poesía. Poetry in unending dialog into its own.


Please allow me to explain. The electronic message of which I speak and from which I’ve drawn my title concealed within it a fragment of a (my) convergence in the poetic universe which extends beyond the title of this introduction:


when you laugh, a whirlwind ensues

a confusion in the air,

beautiful as on winter days when

your breath freezes (…)


No one freezes differently is the title of a collection of poetry by Joachim Sartorius. It contains within it a lyrical-earthly moment dedicated to the letter O: the auditory legacy of this vowel and its realm of signification. T:here Don Joaquín writes: “What the hole makes: saying O / laying the mouth open […] / O my eyes.” Yes, O! the cry of joy I could and would not suppress as each of Eisele’s fragments opened itself to my eyes: O like an instant, internal ovation. O, my open ears! Because I had already experienced precisely this same (venerating) astonishment when first I encountered the young poet in Lech, in September 2019. Raoul Eisele had been awarded a distinction in a literary competition and read his poem in the context of a wonderful opening ceremony at the Hotel Sonnenburg in the Austrian Alps. For me it was an event which permitted me to truly hear: “[…] and you think your everyday along in poems,” I heard him say. Yes, precisely, I thought. Tracing out the everyday and writing. Permiting the everyday to write along. His pictures; his wor(l)ds. To crystalize what is heard into poetry. In the rhythm of constant collision. In conversation with that which has already been written and with that which writes itself between in the moment of reading—even without paper and pen.


Now the collection has appeared which you hold in your hands and I’m smitten once more in tenderness because these verses embody a narrative energy into the poetry of feelings and thoughts. Ferries from the depth of feeling g:rounded in wor(l)ds. In the knowledge of things. In the knowledge of people and their circumstances. Their beauties and their contradictions. A written continuation of that which is, was, and still could be in the moment of experience. Already drafted before the experience. This young man from Burgenland gifts us words and sentences which allow poetry to be:come. Discovering the world and its hands. A sheaf full of perceptions for what is and was. Out of the (beautiful) confusion of encounters arises a cautious respect, and with it, a dignity which inhabits every poem. As essence. Perhaps for that reason, respect in a poem is always the whole-hearted tenderness of hope. Also in wor(l)ds. Even there or perhaps precisely t:here where Schwarze Löcher [Black Holes] means and merges passageway. A vision into the newly- or re-shimmering. Love Loss Love. Only this way, I believe. In three-way constellation. Further arrival. Softly shifting, d:rifting, emerging and immerging. As clouds sway into waves. To be home(land)less and a “little wandering.”


These poems are illuminating symbols in transit. Trigonometric points as Günter Eich would have said. Sketches of a greater yearning which ultimately invokes affection and im:plies love. Sometimes into particularity. Where dread and pain…


Singular wound records which acquiesce. Creating one greater poem. A lyrical totality giving name to mortality because that which dies off into away will not destroy us in our confidence. Con:solitary. Letting go. O darkest yearning! In verses like “leave us as always, leave us remain together / lost […]” In real and poetic empty spaces from which language departs from “us” like birds.


O! Poetry, this mother tongue. It weaves together the individual poems of this book into the totality of a carnal music made of movement and sedentism, permitting each word flight into that which is everything. Forgetfulness when it blossoms. As it blossoms in this collection. In which some poets are retained, Hagar returns, a Swan Lake becomes a sea, and unrequited loves be:comes speech. Into the darkest object.


Love, love O! These poems dance. T:here where they do (not) linger to imagine that… beauty always is.


José F.A. Oliver


Translation from German into English: Dr. Jon Cho-Polizzi (Berkley/USA)