Normally, every summer Berlin is transformed for seven days into a temple of poetry. Poets and artists from around the world (among others Laurie Anderson, Arnaldo Antunes, Marcel Beyer, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Durs Grünbein, Friederike Mayröcker, Paul Muldoon, Herta Müller, Eileen Myles, Michael Palmer, PeterLicht, Silvio Rodríguez, Gerhard Rühm, Derek Walcott and Saul Williams) come to the poesiefestival berlin since 2000 to showcase current trends in contemporary poetry.
This year, we face the fact that what seemed normal is not possible and the festival for the first time in its 21-years-long history takes place online. Nearly the whole festival content as originally planned could be transferred into digital event formats, which have been pre-produced carefully and, if possible, been supplemented by live formats that usually follow the streaming. Many of the participating artists address writing and working during a worldwide pandemic. In one of the Poetry Talks (interviews to read) for instance Luljeta Lleshanaku talks very personally and frankly about this time (full interview unfortunately not available in English, only in German and Albanian).
„[…] thanks to technology the isolation we experience is less awful. To me it comes almost naturally anyway, since I kind of lived in a sort of quarantine in the last ten years already. Because of my big workload, but also out of the need to be alone, my social contacts slimmed by the time; so much that I feel ridiculous and abandoned when I leave my “quarantine” […]”
Planet P is not just the planet of poetry; the title opens up room for thought about our planet, which is acutely at risk from several different factors. Poetry is tied to the here and now, whether it is dealing with pandemics, wars, migration, multilingualism or political activism.
Bas Kwakman (he is curating the event POETRY&ACTIVISM) was writing to us:
“Strange time for you. You imaged this to be a great festival, with remarkable meetings between poets from all over the world, your team and the German audience. The great atmosphere of the Berlin festival, of the poets and the audience in the Akademie der Künste and the rememberable meetings and parties in the lounge of the hotel – it can never be translated to bits & bites. I think it’s a great and heroic step to build such a nice online festival as you guys are doing now. My deepest respect – an example for all European poetry festivals…”
The festival was regularly hosting to some 12,000 to 13,000 visitors – we hope that the online offer will be met by a similarly broad approval. All content is for free admission and will be made available in our media library for the long term. You can support us with a donation.
The poesiefestival berlin is a project by the Haus für Poesie.