Christoph W. Bauer

- Austria -

Christoph W. Bauer was born 1968 in Kolbnitz/Carinthia. He grew up in Lienz and Kirchberg in Tyrol and is currently living in Innsbruck. 2015/2016 he was teaching at the "Institut für Sprachkunst" in Vienna.

His works have been awarded with the Prize of the Academy of Graz (2001), with the Reinhard-Priessnitz-Prize (2001) and the Prize for Lyricism by the city of Innsbruck (2002). Most recent prizes: outstanding artist award 2015, Tiroler Landespreis für Kunst 2015 and Kärntner Lyrikpreis 2014.

Furthermore he was honored with the Audience Award of the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize (2002) in Klagenfurt. Christoph W. Bauer was also chief editor of the literary journal "Wagnis". 

Christoph W. Bauer explains his work as a continuation of existing traditions. He identifies himself with a "poeta legens", who finds, changes, renews and continues topics from the world literature.

Book publications since 1999, among others: "mein lieben, mein hassen, mein mittendrin du", poems, Haymon, 2011 and "In einer Bar unter dem Meer", stories, Haymon, 2013. Last publications: "Orange sind die Äpfel blau" (poems, 2015) and "stromern" (poems, 2015), both Haymon Verlag. 

Christoph W. Bauer was born in Carinthia in 1968, grew up in the Tyrol and is now living in Innsbruck. His field of activity is enormously wide-spread – prose, drama, essay, texts for children and juveniles, libretti, song texts, his job as a referent at the University of Education, series of lectures, editorship and supervision of anthologies, conduct of writing workshops – and the list is even longer. But basically – and this a fortune for Austrian literature, he is a poet. A poet of such pure water, that one of his prose books is even titled "In einer Bar unter dem Meer". His prose always conveys the ductus of his literary provenance: "For a narrative the same applies as for poetry: it is a piece of life." (C.W. Bauer) He is a poet who gives new meaning to the terminus of subtlety and who radically undresses it from old-fashioned and kitschy interpretations. Christoph W. Bauer is a poet considering himself a poeta legens, but he might as well be called poeta doctus – and this deservedly so.


In the opus of his mental ancestors the poeta legens discovers the potential, which he rediscovers as material for himself: "I don’t write, I scrape. Since the very beginning of my writing I am proceeding like that, I scrape myself from one text into another. (…) And so I may frankly concede: Every day I scrape off a bit more. (…) The structuralists and poststructuralists considered writing only as something which could emerge out of something else, something already written. I have to admit, I take pleasure in this." 


Christoph W. Bauer as a poeta doctus can be judged by his commitment to counter oblivion and repression. In his prose he is on the trail of jewish history or – like he did in a series of events in Literaturhaus Innsbruck in 2009 – he devotes himself to the works of forgotten, exiled or betrayed writers. He portrays them and reclaims them back to the focus of literary attention: Bruno Schulz, Soma Morgenstern, Hilde Domin, Rose Ausländer.


His most recent book of poems mein lieben mein hassen mein mittendrin du (2011) left the critics impressed, absolutely overwhelmed – "Breath-taking music-poetic quantum leap". The critics bowed to the poet who succeeded in transcribing classical "stars" of poetic art like Catull and to bring them on an equal footing with punkrock. "With this chronical disrespect – typical of punks – for all authorities Bauer is mixing a lot of other important poets and artists of the past into his punk-antiquity-poetry-sampler, like for example Renaissance poet Guido Cavalcanti. (…) Bauer mainly uses the technique of consequent stylistic inconsistency, i.e. by confronting rhetorically refined language and form with punk slogans and rough language of the gutter. The contrasts are combined musically by dynamic rhythm, which pushes the poems like song texts." (Michaela Schmitz 2011)


Such an undertaking can only succeed when the tool fits like a glove, when apart from emphatic access knowledge and skill finally result in congruent form and content.


The second book of poems by Christoph W. Bauer is titled die mobilität des wassers müsste man mieten können (2001), following his debut poetry book wege verzweigt (1999). Both titles refer to parts of his poetic concept, which again and again makes recourses to movement, sound, music and musicality. And even when he deals with the ultimate topic of mankind, the death – again in good company, i.e. Sylvia Plath –, his poetry is not about standstill. supersonic. logbuch einer reise ins verschwinden (2005) signifies a bold awakening, an affront to the reader – in the sense of Ingeborg Bachmann.


Christoph W. Bauer avails of an enormous potential in his writing, he has a good grasp in what he does and he has the kind readiness to share his potential: Since 2014 he is curator of a poetic series in Literaturhaus NÖ, which under the title paar : weise brings together the works of quite different poets – poems, which in pairs inspire the poems of the other for paraphrasing, transcribing, "counter-versivying" – for scraping in the best sense of C.W. Bauer.