The advance sale for the 23rd poesiefestival berlin (June 17-23) has begun. After an online and a hybrid version, the poetry festival will finally take place in person once again with the theme “All that poetry” at the Akademie der Künste at the Hanseatenweg. Over 150 artists from 33 countries will participate.
At Weltklang – Night of Poetry (FR 6.17 | 19.30), the great concert voice in verse and languages, one contemporary voice from Ukraine is eagerly awaited: Halyna Kruk does not want to “write about stars in the sky when there is something more important, something more timely and topical.” She will read poems written especially for Weltklang, all of which deal with the war in Ukraine. Also on stage this year: Raymond Antrobus (JAM/GBR) writes, among other things, about casual racism and discrimination against deaf people, Agustín Fernández Mallo (ESP), is revered worldwide as his generation’s most original poet, but an insider tip in Germany, and Dorothea Grünzweig (DEU), who has lived in Finland since 1989 and whose poems combine Sami mythology and Swabian childhood. And more: Mihret Kebede (ETH) writes in Amharic and is not only a poet, but also a performer and artist. Kim Yideum (KOR) is known for her utterly feminist poetry, which subverts social norms with eroticism and sarcasm. Wulf Kirsten (DEU) uncovers past and present in the layers of a landscape. Aleš Šteger (SVN) is one of Slovenia’s most famous writers, a cosmopolitan and traveler. Julia Wong Kcomt (PER), Peruvian writer with Chinese roots, speaks from the diasporic soul with great lucidity.
Poetry in conversation with Antrobus, Kebede, Kruk, Yideum, Mallo, and Wong Kcomt will illuminate each artist’s work in greater detail.
The festival exhibition AI ANCESTORS – Making Kin in the Future (WE 6.15 and TH 6.16: 13.00-19.00, daily during the festival: 13.00-22.00) will explore speculative and sustainable ways of being through body, poetry, and sound, inviting visitors to “sensually feel more tender futures,” says curator Rike Scheffler. The exhibition’s featured voices draw on decolonial, intersectional, trans- and ecofeminist approaches, non-Western and Indigenous ways of life and knowledge systems. They explore animist myths in Tibet and co-writing with artificial intelligence, respond to the heartbeats of visitors, whispering them poems from the future. The exhibition will be accompanied by a program of several talks and performances, as well as a workshop. With work by K Allado-McDowell (USA), Rike Scheffler (DEU), Himali Singh Soin (IND/GBR), David Soin Tappeser (DEU), and Louise Walleneit (DEU).
The 2022 Berlin Poetry Lecture (SU 6.19 | 19.30) will be held by Michèle Métail (FRA). In 17 chapters, she will trace the history of her work and outline a poetics of the in-between, in which the poem becomes a “riddle with multiple solutions.” Michèle Métail will deliver the speech in German. “Die Zwischensprache” (the “in-between” language) will be published for the event in German and English by Wallstein Verlag.
This year’s reVERSible translation workshop (TU 6.21 | 20.00) will feature poetry from four successor states of the former Yugoslavia: Eight poets from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, will enter into an exchange with eight poets from the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. For the first time since the breakup of Yugoslavia, four cultural institutions from these four countries will gather to facilitate such an encounter: PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hrvatsko društvo pisaca (Croatia), Kulturno – informativni centar “Budo Tomović” (Montenegro) and Kulturni centar Beograda (Serbia). The featured authors are: Bjanka Alajbegović (BIH), Alen Brlek (HRV), Sandra Burkhardt (DEU), Daniela Chana (AUT), Nikola Ćorac (MNE), Franziska Füchsl (AUT), Sascha Garzetti (CHE), Almin Kaplan (BIH), Norbert Lange (DEU), Tristan Marquardt (DEU), Jana Radičević (MNE), Stefan Schmitzer (AUT), Maša Seničić (SRB), Raphael Urweider (CHE), Bojan Vasić (SRB) and Martina Vidaić (HRV).
The Dream Factory – A Poetic Cartography of Africa’s new Urbanity (SA 6.18 | 19.00) will offer plenty of opportunities to say goodbye to preconceived notions about the African continent: with music, poetry, discussions about urbanity, the diaspora, and Afrofuturism. The new urbanity resembles a dream factory in which religion, languages, identity, and gender are constantly reinventing themselves; it is a melting pot of art and popular culture. With Fiston Mwanza Mujila (COD/AUT), Kareyce Fotso (CMR), Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (KEN), Mpho Matsipa (ZAF), Elisio Macamo (MOZ/CHE), Nick Makoha (UGA/GBR), Theresa Lola (NGA/GBR), Music: Kareyce Fotso (CMR), Batila & the Dreambus (COD/DEU), Elom20ce (TGO)
Aras Ören‘s (TUR/DEU) long poems “Was will Niyazi in der Naunynstraße“ (“What does Niyazi want in the Naunynstraße”) (1973), “Der kurze Traum aus Kagithane“ (”The brief dream from Kagithane”) (1974), and “Die Fremde ist auch ein Haus” (“The Stranger is also a House”) (1980) – known together as the “Berlin Trilogy” (TH 6.23 | 19.30) – were adapted for the stage by Björn Kuhligk. These texts have lost none of their relevance: They tell of the first generation of Turkish “guest workers” and of their lives in a 1970s Kreuzberg marked by poverty, degeneration, and political upheaval. Leopold von Verschuer (DEU) will stage these poems with Sylvana Seddig (DEU) and Matthias Rheinheimer (DEU).
The festival will also look to Belarus. This past spring, poet Valzhyna Mort (BLR/USA) edited the Anthology of (female) Poets (SU 6.19 | 11.00), published by Pflaŭmbaŭm, a small miracle of editing and publishing that gathers over 60 Belarusian contemporary women poets. Now, for the first time ever, the project will be presented in Germany. Svetlana Alexievich (BLR/DEU), the publishing house’s founder, will be one of the speakers. With poets Maria Badzei (BLR), Kryscina Banduryna (BLR), Sabina Brilo (BLR/LTU), Lina Kazakova (BLR/USA), Nasta Mancewicz (BLR), Tania Skarynkina (BLR) and author and head publisher Alena Kazlova (BLR).
One evening will be dedicated to Persian poetry in European exile (WE 6.22 | 19.30). “As much of the fatherland as I’ve got in my suitcase” was the title of a poem about exile by the poet Esmail Kho’i, who passed away in London in 2021. He is among the 35 Persian poets featured in the anthology “Kontinentaldrift. Das persische Europa” (“Continental drift. Persian Europe”), presented in German translation and edited by Ali Abdollahi (IRN/DEU) and Daniela Danz (DEU). The series, which began in 2021 with “Das schwarze Europa” (“Black Europe”), is a collaboration between the Haus für Poesie and the publishing house Das Wunderhorn, featuring poetry by poets with non-European origins who have since found their homes in Europe. With Alireza Abiz (IRN/GBR), Fatemeh Ekhtesari (IRN/NOR), Mahmood Falaki (IRN/DEU), Mudzgan Schaffa (AFG/DEU), Music: Roshanak Rafani (IRN/DEU), Cymin Samawatie (DEU), Ralf Schwarz (DEU), Presenters: Maryam Aras (DEU), Ali Abdollahi (IRN/DEU)
On Sunday, with the Poetry Market (SU 6.19 | 14.00–19.00), the Akademie der Künste will turn into a poetic hidden-object picture: Poets and translators will read in the Buchengarten in open air, with free admission. Poetry books and journals will be available for purchase at the book market. The poetry lounge and various workshops will invite visitors of all ages to participate themselves.
Lutz Seiler (DEU) curated this year’s poets’ night: Moosbrand Reloaded (MO 20.6. | 21.00) will travel back in time to the 1990s, when the magazine Moosbrand was founded, a self-published bibliophile booklet with texts and illustrations by a group of artist friends who met for regular readings at Peter Huchel’s house in Wilhelmshorst. Thomas Böhme (DEU), Annett Gröschner (DEU), Thomas Kunst (DEU), and Kathrin Schmidt (DEU) will speak with Seiler about the time back then – and its continued influence today.
Poetry in Education will offer an extensive program: an advanced training for poetry mediators, workshops for school classes, a collectively-written “chain poem,” poetry readings of young writers, an inclusive exhibition project, and much more.
Fans of poetry will be able to warm up for the festival at Poets’ Corner – Poetry in the Districts. From June 12 to 16, eleven readings featuring international poets living in Berlin will take place at exciting locations throughout the city, thanks to the help of numerous cooperation partners.
Considered the largest of its kind in Europe, the poesiefestival berlin was founded in 2000. Each year, it brings about 150 renowned poets and artists from all over the world to Berlin. In addition to the printed book, poetry has long pursued other forms of expression, experimenting with theater, performance, music, dance, film, and digital media.
The poesiefestival berlin is a project of the Haus für Poesie in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste and is supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
Presented by ASK HELMUT, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, BÜCHERmagazin, EXBERLINER,
KUNSTFORUM International, Literaturport, rbbKultur, taz, and tip Berlin.
23. poesiefestival berlin
6.17 – 6.23
Akademie der Künste
“WARM-UP” before the festival
Poets’ Corner – Poetry in the Districts
6.12 – 6.16
Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Lichtenberg, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Mitte (2x), Pankow (2x), Schöneberg-Tempelhof, Spandau, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Treptow-Köpenick
Tickets are available at poesiefestival.org and from 13th of May at the box office of the Akademie der Künste (Pariser Platz & Hanseatenweg). The festival pass is available exclusively at poesiefestival.org
The complete program and artist biographies can be accessed online at poesiefestival.org.
Haus für Poesie
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Phone: 030. 48 52 45 24
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