Ilma Rakusa

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Ilma Rakusa at Fokus Lyrik 2019 in Frankfurt

Ilma Rakusa (born January 2, 1946 in Rimavská Sobota , Slovakia ) is a Swiss literary scholar , writer and literary translator .


Ilma Rakusa is the daughter of a Slovenian father and a Hungarian mother. She spent her early childhood in Budapest , Ljubljana and Trieste . In 1951 the family settled in Switzerland . Ilma Rakusa attended elementary school and high school in Zurich . After graduating from high school , she studied Slavic and Romance studies in Zurich, Paris and Leningrad from 1965 to 1971 . In 1971 she earned her doctorate in philosophy with a literary thesis on the subject of "Studies on the Motive of Loneliness in Russian Literature" . From 1971 to 1977 she was an assistant at the Slavonic Seminar at the University of Zurich , where she worked as a lecturer from 1977 to 2006 . Rakusa works as a translator from French , Russian , Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian and as a publicist ( Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Die Zeit ). Today Ilma Rakusa lives as a freelance writer in Zurich.

Rakusa is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt and the expert jury of the Zug translator scholarship .

Awards and honors

Topic and style

In Loneliness with a rolling 'r' (2014), Rakusa describes “emphatic encounters that are as fleeting as the places where these people come together and then part again. She tells of people who, like herself, always sit on packed suitcases. ”In poetry, Rakusa's slender parataxes are sometimes reminiscent of the rhythms of rap , and the style of prose and essay is also permeated with musicality.

Works in detail

  • Studies on the motif of loneliness in Russian literature. Dissertation. Herbert Lang, Bern 1973.
  • Sinai. Picture-text book, Howeg, Zurich 1980.
  • The island. Story, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1982.
  • Miramar. Stories. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1986.
  • Life. 15 acronyms. Howeg, Zurich 1990.
  • Steppe. Stories. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1990.
  • with Regine Walter: Les mots, morts. Poems. Howeg, Zurich 1992.
  • Jim. Seven dramolets. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1993.
  • Ribbon and edge figure. Lectures on poetics. Droschl, Graz 1994.
  • A dash through everything. 90 nine-liners. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1997
  • Love after love. Eight swan songs. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2001, ISBN 3-518-12251-7 .
  • Of heretics and classics. Forays into Russian literature. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 3-518-12325-4 .
  • Slower! Against breathlessness, acceleration and other unreasonable demands. 3. Edition. Droschl, Graz 2006, ISBN 3-85420-692-5 .
  • Silence. Time. Essays. Tartin Editions, Salzburg 2005.
  • Through snow. Stories and prose miniatures (with an afterword by Kathrin Röggla), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2006, ISBN 3-518-45794-2 .
  • Going to the language (Dresdner Chamisso-Poetikvorlesungen 2005). Thelem Universitätsverlag, Dresden 2006, ISBN 3-937672-49-4 .
  • Garden, trains. A story and 10 poems. Edition Thanhäuser, Ottensheim 2006.
  • Laudation for Peter Waterhouse . On the occasion of the awarding of the Erich Fried Prize to Peter Waterhouse on Sunday, November 25th 2007, in the Literaturhaus in Vienna. Online: Laudation for Peter Waterhouse ( Memento from January 10, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
  • More sea. Memory passages. Droschl, Graz 2009, ISBN 978-3-85420-760-3 . These memories of Rakusa have been translated into numerous languages. The author was awarded the Swiss Book Prize for this work in 2009 .
  • Wide open looks. Berlin Journal. Droschl, Graz 2013, ISBN 978-3-85420-836-5 .
  • Loneliness with a rolling "r" . Stories. Droschl, Graz 2014, ISBN 978-3-85420-953-9 .
  • Autobiographical writing as an educational novel . Stefan Zweig poetics lecture. Special number, Vienna 2014. ISBN 978-3-85449-408-9 .
  • Imprint: Slow light . Poems. Droschl, Graz 2016, ISBN 978-3-85420-949-2 .
  • Lists, litanies, loops. Between poetic invocation and inventory. Munich speeches on poetry. Edited by Holger Pils and Frieder von Ammon. Lyrik Kabinett , Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-938776-42-1 .
  • My alphabet . Droschl, Graz 2019, ISBN 978-3-990590-32-4 .

As editor

  • with Felix Philipp Ingold : Poems to God are prayers. Arche, Zurich 1972
  • with Felix Philipp Ingold: Alexander Solschenizyn : Church and Politics. Arche, Zurich 1973
  • Loneliness. A reader. Arche, Zurich 1975.
  • with Hugo Schmid: Russian children. Arche, Zurich 1979.
  • Dostoyevsky in Switzerland. A reader. Insel, Frankfurt 1981
  • Marguerite Duras . Material tape. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1988.
  • Anna Achmatova : poems. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1988
  • Danilo Kiš : "Homo poeticus". Conversations and essays. Hanser, Munich 1994
  • Joseph Brodsky : Stop in the desert. Poems, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1997
  • Marina Tsvetaeva : Try to be jealous. Poems. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2002
  • with Ursula Keller : Europe writes . Essays from 33 European countries, Edition Körber Foundation , Hamburg 2003
  • with Mohammed Bennis: “The mint blooms in the mint.” Arabic poetry of the present. Carl Hanser, Munich 2007.
  • Danilo Kiš : family circus. The great novels. Carl Hanser, Munich 2014.


Rakusa was best known as the translator of Marguerite Duras from French, Marina Zwetajewa from Russian, Imre Kertész and Péter Nádas from Hungarian and Danilo Kiš from Serbo-Croatian.



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. - Ilma Rakusa receives the Manes Sperber Prize . Article dated November 12, 2015, accessed November 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Kleist Prize for Swiss writer Ilma Rakusa
  3. Zuglärm and Orgelklang , review of "Loneliness with rolling 'r'" by Michaela Schmitz in Rheinischer Merkur on December 3, 2009.
  4. a b c d Volker Breidecker: Die Fahrende. Ilma Rakusa, the great European of literature, turns 70 , in: Süddeutsche Zeitung , No. 300, December 30, 2015, p. 14.
  5. Three of them in preprint in Akzente (magazine) H. 1, 1993, pp. 62–67 ( Der Himmel ein Ei; Für M .; Koppel ).
  6. Zuglärm and Orgelklang , review of Mehr Meer , in: Rheinischer Merkur of December 3, 2009.
  7. Fits in the translator database of the VdÜ, 2019
  8. Radetzkaja in the translator database of the VdÜ, 2019
  9. Screenplay translator