With Roman Graf
"I condemn hierarchies in religion or philosophy.
I am convinced
that everyone is responsible for
his actions and has to find his own
meaning, ethics and morality."
Nnorom Azuonye (NA): Hello Roman. Thank
you for making the time to talk to me. Let's begin this conversation by quickly
going over your background. May I ask when and where you were born, and where
you received your education?
Graf (RG): I was born on the 14th of
April 1978 in Winterthur, a former worker's town in the vincinity of Zurich. I
went to school in Neftenbach a village near Winterthur.
NA: And where do you currently reside?
RG: I live in Zurich, Switzerland.
NA: Do you currently work as a full-time
writer or are you involved in another occupation?
RG: Sometimes I work part-time and write,
at other times I work full-time like I am doing at the moment as a
member-recruitment officer for Greenpeace. This will make it possible for me to
take time off, travel for a while and concentrate on writing.
NA: Would you kindly say what other work
you did before that?
I started with an apprenticeship as a lumberjack, then I cared for disabled
people and later worked as an editor for a weekly newspaper
Das Stadtblatt Now I have left
journalism for literary writing, however, sometimes I also still write for the
magazine Der Tages-Anzeiger
on a freelance basis.
What inspired you to start writing poetry?
RG: Life is inspiring. It is all about
coming to terms with what happens and to voice these thoughts.
NA: You have said that life inspires you.
Would you say that you are naturally philosophical or are your attitudes to life
and what happens guided by a religion, or any other organised school of thought?
RG: Of course I have been influenced - by
the culture I grew up in. But other than that I am an atheist and I do not
adhere to any specific school of thought. I condemn hierarchies in religion or
philosophy. I am convinced that everyone is responsible for his actions and has
to find his own philosophy, meaning, ethics and morality. Everyone has to bear
this burden. This is what I do.
Are there any poets that have influenced or continue to influence your poetry?
RG: The Swiss writer Max Frisch, the
Austrian writers Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard and Bettina Balàka and also