• 2023-06-09, 7:30 PM
With Arooj Aftab | Takako Arai | Polina Barskova | Julian Talamantez Brolaski | Radna Fabias | Meena Kandasamy | Zaffar Kunial | Christian Lehnert
Introduced by Daniela Danz | Ozan Zakariya Keskinkılıç | hn. lyonga | Goitseone Montsho | Eugene Ostashevsky | Avrina Prabala-Joslin | Yoko Tawada | Ralph Tharayil
Arooj Aftab (born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1985; raised in Lahore, Pakistan) is a Grammy Award winning singer, composer, and producer based in New York. Her album “Vulture Prince” crosses boundaries between jazz, folk, minimalism, and indie pop. Her lyrics, which are sung in Urdu and English, renew and transform Urdu poetry set to music, speaking of longing and loss, joining mysticism with intimacy.
Takako Arai’s (born in Kiryū, Japan in 1966) poems are populated by ghosts: women of her childhood, who worked in her father’s now-defunct silk mill, those who died by the Iraq War, victims of the Fukushima accident. Arai writes about Uniqlo’s international triumph and the invention of the condom, artfully combining a history of Japan’s rise to nuclear power with the story of the manga hero Astro Boy.
Polina Barskova (born in Leningrad in 1976) lives and teaches in the United States and in her work combines both Russian and U.S. American poetic traditions, seeking a language for what cannot really be spoken: from the Decembrist Uprising to the Stalinist terror and the blockade of Leningrad to the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine.
Julian Talamantez Brolaski (born in La Jolla, USA, in 1978) makes poetry and country music. Brolaski’s lyrics are eco-poetic explorations that contend with gender and origin through language, effortlessly amalgamating disparate influences and offering a mixture of archaisms and neologisms never before read or heard. A new in-between language emerges: “speke englysshe / polymorphously.”
Radna Fabias (born 1983 in Curaçao) was widely awarded for her 2018 debut, “Habitus”, which was published in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Her poems boldly, artfully and variously negotiate racism, neocolonialism, poverty, and sexism. They have “a confident, clear, strange, wild energy,” writes poet Matthew Zapruder: “along with the rage and wisdom and humor of a soul who understands the terrors and beauties of this world.”
Meena Kandasamy (born 1984 in Tamil Nadu, India) describes the relationship between poetry and protest, considering love and friendship, anger and death. She criticizes the caste system, patriarchy, and neo-fascist tendencies in India. The great themes of poetry meet with the highest political urgency in her work: “words as weapon and caress.”
Zaffar Kunial (born in Birmingham) is a poet with Kashmiri and British roots. His debut in the “Faber New Poets” series caused a sensation. His cricket poems in the volumes “Us” and “England’s Green” (Faber & Faber 2018 and 2022, respectively) are among the finest sports poems ever written. Kunial takes the most British of games as an occasion to reflect on identity, belonging, and exclusion.
Christian Lehnert (born in Dresden, Germany, in 1969) is a bold and formally conscious poet. He writes odes and tercets which deftly include rhyme – a formal attribute that has become rare in German poetry. His poems, in which “Creator God” and “Creeping Cinquefoil” stand on equal footing, reach from the microscopic into the cosmic, “a tossing of thread into space.”
British Council, Embassy of the United States of America, Nederlands Letterenfonds, The Mandala Hotel and the European Poetry Platform Versopolis, funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The 24th poesiefestival berlin is a project of Haus für Poesie in cooperation with Akademie der Künste and is supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.