Andreas Unterweger

Rivista clanDestino (2 Gedichte, Interview)

Posted in gedichte, manuskripte, Poèmes, Tingeltangel-Tour by andreasundschnurrendemia on 27. März 2021

Ich freue mich sehr über meine Präsenz in der italienischen Literaturzeitschrift clanDestino!
(Hier oder auf dem Foto zu erklicken.)


Valentina Colonna, Dichterin, Komponistin und frischgebackene Doktorin der Linguistik, hat ein längeres Interview mit mir geführt – die Themen: meine Arbeit mit und abseits von den manuskripten, Wohl und Wehe von Literaturzeitschriften im Allgemeinen, Zusammenarbeit mit Alfred Kolleritsch und Ratschläge an junge Dichter*innen.
Aus dem Englischen übersetzt hat es Flora Matera.

Dem Interview gehen zwei meiner Gedichte voraus, ins Italienische übersetzt von Barbara Herzog: „An einen, den ich kannte“ und „Donauebene, Dezember“, beide bei clanDestino (deutsch und italienisch) oder im dreisprachigen Gedichtbändchen „Poèmes“ (deutsch, französisch, englisch) nachzulesen.

Grazie mille, cara Valentina, grazie Barbara Herzog e Flora Matera, grazie a tutti!


Das Interview wurde in der beiderseitigen Fremdsprache Englisch geführt, hier die Originalfassung – für all jene, bei denen 2 Jahre Wahlpflichtfach Italienisch auch nicht für die Zeitschriftenversion reichen:



Valentina Colonna:
manuskripte is the most prestigious Austrian literary review, one of the oldest and most renowned literary journals in the German-speaking countries. It was founded in Graz in 1960 by Alfred Kolleritsch. Since 2016 Kolleritsch, who sadly passed away in 2020, and you edited the review together. Can you tell us about manuskripte and your experience there?


Andreas Unterweger:
manuskripte is known for Peter Handke’s first publication and early publications by other famous Austrian writers like Elfriede Jelinek, Friederike Mayröcker or Ernst Jandl. However, many international stars like Vaclav Havel, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney and many others also published in the review. In 2019, we were lucky to present Louise Glück before she received the Nobel Prize.

Based in Graz, Austria’s second city, manuskripte played a decisive role in the development of the city. Graz was a stronghold of the Nazis before and even after WWII. In the sixties and seventies, Kolleritsch and his friends of the artist’s community Forum Stadtpark stood up against a very reactionary public and the local press. As a result, manuskripte caused several scandals, once the editor was even accused of dissemination of pornography. This struggle really changed the place. Without the progress caused by manuskripte and Forum Stadtpark, Graz could never have been cultural capital of Europe in 2003, for instance.

I have been a fan of manuskripte and writers like Handke and Kolleritsch since I was a teenager. My dream was to publish in the review, not to become the editor. That just happened while I was busy trying to write my own stuff … When I was young, I waited until my texts were good enough before I sent them to Kolleritsch. He published one of my stories in 2006 and I remember that I was very proud then. He supported me as a writer, we became friends, and in 2009, when he was very sick, I started to help the editorial staff occasionally. In 2016, after I had returned to Styria (I lived in the countryside in Lower Austria for almost 10 years), he told me that he was looking for a successor and that he had chosen me.

manuskripte was edited by “Fredy” – Alfred Kolleritsch’s nickname – for 60 years; that’s world record, I guess. So it was quite an experience to work side by side with such a legend … What have I learned from him? He always trusted his intuition. He always tried to “read deeper”, to see the human being behind the words … And he didn’t rush into a decision, not even under pressure.

When Fredy died in 2020, I was very sad. Since then, I have been very busy. It’s not necessary to reinvent manuskripte. The concept – to be open, not to limit the review to certain themes or poetics – is still great. That said, my team and me, we have to change some minor things. For instance, we have to approach the contemporary readers by a new appearance and some fine-tuning in terms of content. We are happy to have more than 1.000 subscribers and to reach a circulation of 2.500 copies. We recently even raised the number by selling copies on airports and train stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

I still mainly consider myself as a writer. To be the editor of manuskripte is my bread-and-butter job. A bread-and-butter job that could also be seen as my second dream job.


Valentina Colonna:
What do you think about the European landscape of literature (in particular poetry) reviews?


Andreas Unterweger:
Reviews like manuskripte have always been in a precarious situation. Nowadays it seems to be even worse – considering the new media, which offer many possibilities to publish your writing (blogs, Facebook and so on). What are literary reviews still good for after all?

On the other hand: everybody can create his own blog or Twitter account. That’s nothing special. And nobody can read the whole internet … That could be an opportunity for journals like manuskripte: people – and publishing houses – need someone who pre-selects more than ever. If you publish in a renowned review like manuskripte you get noticed by readers – and especially by those readers who really matter, like editors, critics, other writers …

Despite the new media, people are still extremely interested in being published in manuskripte – to be printed, not just to be published online. We receive about 2000 unsolicited manuscripts a year. We publish about 80 of them in our four annual issues.


Valentina Colonna:
How did the experience with Kolleritsch and the work for the review influence your work as a poet?


Andreas Unterweger:
Working for manuskripte influenced my own writing mainly on the level of organization. I simply have less time now. On the other hand, the poet in me is prone to defiance. “Less time?”, he says. “Ok, so I will start to write a long, long novel which requires even MORE time!” You see, it’s a struggle against myself – a win-win-situation, so to speak.

Nevertheless, my inner poet is getting more and more reconciled with my role as an editor. It’s not bad at all  not to be a writer exlcusively. To be the editor of manuskripte gives me the opportunity to help other writers and artists (young writers, foreign writers, writers in troubles, forgotten writers …), which I have to seize. And it allows me to make a living without depending on odd jobs.


Valentina Colonna:
always paid careful attention to the international literature scene as well as to new authors: what would you suggest to a young author in 2021?


Andreas Unterweger:
The advice, that helped me the most, is rather simple. It is by Ernest Hemingway. In A Moveable Feast he tells himself as a young writer: “,All you have to do is to write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write a true sentence, and then go on from there.”

These words are still valid. Work on the smallest entities to create a stable background – that’s better than creating castles in the air by using empty phrases (like “castles in the air”). Concentrate on the language, not on your career – the career is the second step. And don’t give up too early – it’s normal to get rejected at first. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better” – as Samuel Beckett wrote.


(Danke fürs Korrekturlesen, liebe Barbara!)

Eine Antwort

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  1. giulia said, on 30. März 2021 at 8:57 am

    Auguri! 🙂

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