Sentinel Poetry (Online) Magazine Monthly...Since December 2002   ISSN 1479-425X
JUNE 2003, ISSUE #7

Nnorom Azuonye

My E-Conversation 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 philosophy,
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?

Roman 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?

RG: 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.

NA:  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.

NA: 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 Balāka and also Paul Auster.

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