in visible ink
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in words in pictures
A poem by a young girl in an almanac inspired me to write my first poem when I was around 13 or 14. I scribbled a little during my teens - nothing great, but I never really stopped writing. My first publication was in a girl magazine called Mädchen where my poem was voted one of the top 100 out of many many thousands. I remember writing most of that poem during a geography lesson. *grin* A couple publications in the magazine My Way followed. Around the time I went to Australia, I began to write in English occasionally. During my university years (1991-1997) I went through phases when I wrote a lot, and then nothing for months. More and more of my poetry was in English, and by the time I returned from my round-the-world trip in October 1998, English had by far become my "poetry language" no. 1, much to the regret of my father whose English is not good at all. Over the last five years, I have barely written in German anymore. I don't think I wrote one poem in my mother tongue in 2006.

I found my first poetry workshop / community on the web in 1996. I moved on after a while, when I felt I had outgrown that kind of forum where people were supportive, but not offering too much c&c. I tried various boards, posted at the Melic Round Table for a while, but found a real home at Blueline, where I was a moderator for years. Tension between staff and management made me resign, and for a while I thought I would not return to the online community at all. But - I was wrong. ITWS has become a second home, though I mainly use it for the 30:30 challenge (writing a poem per day for 30 consecutive days). I don't normally post poems for line-by-line crits anymore, I'd rather send my poems to friends whom I trust with my work, who are familiar with my style, and who won't rewrite my poem.

I was very lucky in that I met some wonderful people along the way. Teresa White was my first mentor when we met on a poetry board. Alex Stolis kept kicking my butt when I would not get to work on my first chapbook. Over the years many people have been helpful, inspirational, and occasional collaborators, among them Arlene Ang, Annette M. Hyder, Sarah J. Sloat, Rachel Mallino, Annie Bien, Nathan Horowitz, Nathan McClain, Nicole Cartwright-Denison. I know I would be nowhere near where I am without the web. Try publishing English poetry in a German-speaking country. Ha.

I always thought I could only write when something was "there", when something "came" to me. When Arlene Ang kept nagging me to try writing daily, I never thought I would last more than three days. But I underestimated myself. Not only did I last longer than three days, I lasted 90 days. And one autumn I set out to do another 30:30 (30 days - 30 poems), and ended up writing a poem per day for 180 consecutive days. Madness. I know. I haven't been able to pull this off since then, and I've suffered from writer's block a lot over the past four years.

In October 2006 I finally read in front of an audience. I nearly died of stage fright, but I did it, and I did okay. Sylvia Petter made sure I read a second time, and pretty soon I got quite addicted to that adrenalin rush and became a regular at open mics, got invited to readings/festivals and read with John Siddique and Sylvia Petter.

Poets I admire and return to include Wislawa Szymborska, e. e. cummings, Pablo Neruda, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Louise Glück, Leonard Cohen, Marie Howe, Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, John Siddique, Cecilia Woloch; and among my favourite small press poets I count Alex Stolis, Arlene Ang, Ros Barber, Teresa White, Suzanne Frischkorn, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Kristy Bowen, Sarah J. Sloat, Sharon Hurlbut, Ivy Alvarez, Kelli Russell Agodon, Jayne Pupek, Carolyn Guinzio.

[For publication details see the link to credits.]
Not a day goes by without music. I have always been a music fan, and I have never been content with what's on the radio, with knowing a melody, I have always wanted to know more. I remember hundreds and hundreds of lyrics, I know who sings what, and I am also quite good with release dates. My taste is eclectic - the only styles I can't stand, or can't find access to, are extreme forms of jazz, hiphop, rap, whiney country&western, trash metal, and the kind of wishy-washy blahblah pop trash that is to be heard on so many stations these days.

A list of my favourites is long, and includes Tori Amos (one of my music goddesses, and someone I find very inspirational), Björk, Billy Joel (one of the best songwriters of all time), Leonard Cohen (my poetic hero), Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, The Walkabouts, Portishead, ABBA, Regina Spektor, Sia, Lhasa, Belle & Sebastian, Martha Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright, Element of Crime, Radiohead, Attwenger, David Bowie, Nick Cave, Jenny Lewis, Adam Green, Richard Hawley, Kaizers Orchestra (best live band), Nellie McKay, Katzenjammer, Pulp / Jarvis Cocker, U2 (until about the mid-90s). And this, as I said, is only an excerpt.

I keep discovering great music - lately: Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Agnes Obel, Jo Hamilton, Katzenjammer, Vienna Teng, Lykke Li, Sophie Hunger, Anna Aaron, The Trishas, Son of the Velvet Rat, The Ditty Bops, First Aid Kit, to name but a few.

Recent and upcoming concerts include Belle & Sebastian, The Walkabous (finally!), Bruce Springsteen, Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt, Arcade Fire, Azure Ray.
home & away
I was born and grew up in a small Austrian town called Spittal/Drau, not too far from the Italian / Slovenian border. It's actually quite a beautiful part of the world, though I did not appreciate that when I was a teenager and could not wait to get out.

I caught the travel bug when I explored Australia in 1991: I went off on my own after High School, and travelled the Land Down Under for six months. Needless to say I loved it. Countries I have visited: Germany, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the USA, Réunion, Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga. My favourite is New Zealand - for several reasons: it's magical, especially the South Island, and while it is not very big, it has so much to offer, from wonderful white beaches to glaciers. I'm also in love with the Scandinavian countries, the trips to Lapland were fantastic, and I intend to return there.
friends & family
What, where, who would I be without them? Some of my friendships have lasted well over 20 years. My closest friends here in Austria are Gudrun (whom I first met at age 9, who was my Siamese twin throughout our teens, and who has supported me through many a crisis), Birgit, Babs, Daniela, Sabine, Dan and Nathan; but I have very dear friends all over the world: Lotta, Rachael, Teresa, Arlene, Nanci, Colleen, Özge, Bo, to name but a few. Some of them write poetry, others don't. I've connected to amazing people through Facebook as well, people I'd never have met elsewhere.

My parents live in my hometown. Both my brothers are younger than me, Markus was born in 1975, and Martin in 1983. Markus lives in Vienna, Martin is working towards a PhD in History at the University of Klagenfurt, where he is a lecturer and assistant.

I met my partner Heinz in August 2008, and finally, finally, in March 2014, our lovely little daughter Emilia was born.
night & day
I was born two minutes to midnight on November 21, 1971. Perhaps that explains why I am such a night owl. I love night time. Watching the moon. Silence. I work best during the night. I am definitely not a morning person, although once I am up, and have had my shower, I am usually alright. I don't need much sleep. Some people wonder whether I sleep at all - but I can assure you, I do.

During the day, I teach English classes for adults, mostly unemployed people. I do translations as well, English-German but also German-English. A couple of years ago I tried my hand at job-coaching etc for under 21's for the first time - tough job, but an interesting & valuable experience. I taught computer classes from early 2004 through autumn 2007, it was great, but I am happy that it's all English now. I love my job(s) - I think I am in the right place(s) doing the right thing.
food & drink
The smell of Red Bull makes me sick (and quite literally). I don't drink coffee or soda pops. I cannot stand tuna, spinach, olives, mussels, tomato juice, and vanilla cream. I loooove strawberries, Indian food, pasta, Tichy's chocolate ice-cream (come to Vienna - I'll take you to Tichy's across the street from my old flat, very popular ice-cream parlour). I like to experiment when cooking.
My favourite drink is water, followed by herb teas, but I also like Bailey's, bubbly, Caipirinha, Tequila Sunrise, and Spritzer (white wine with mineral water). If you ever want to take me out to dinner, an Indian restaurant will be fine, also Akakiko (Japanese restaurant chain) or a nice Italian or Mexican restaurant. Do not suggest McDonald's. *S*
this & that
Klimt, Miró, Schiele, Matisse, and Kandinsky are among my favourite painters.

A poisonous spider bit me in Darwin, Australia. Yes, I survived. Not sure about the spider. Although I am pretty convinced I outlived it.

Among my favourite movies are: The Piano, The Apartment, Down by Law, Rhythm Is It, Into the Wild, The Hours, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Amélie, Love ... Actually, La vita è bella, Lost in Translation, Little Miss Sunshine, Lars and the Real Girl. (This list is by no means complete.)

I used to play tennis for years (but with the divorce I also lost my tennis partner), and love watching a good game (and, contrary to popular belief, not only when gorgeous James Blake is playing).

At age 15 I swore I'd never want to have anything to do with computers. Ha. Just goes to show, doesn't it?

I type very fast though I never learned it the "proper" way.

I sleep on the right side of the bed. 

I am not a fan of heat. Anything over 25°C (77F) is completely unnecessary if you ask me.

I don't believe in God.

I have had a driver's license since February 1990, but I never drove until March 2009. My partner Heinz has been super-patient and I have done a few thousand kilometres now. Last autumn I actually ventured out on my own, driving to southern Austria and from there into Hungary and Slovenia. We came back in one piece, Leopold (the car) and I.

I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks as well as mild depression since September 2007 (diagnosed); I was on medication for a couple of years, but have felt much better since then. I do get the occasional panic attack, but nothing like the nightmarish episodes I had in the beginning.