With Yugen Blakrok (South Africa) | Patrizia Cavalli (Italy) | Anja Golob (Slovenia) | Rainer René Mueller (Germany)| Eileen Myles (USA) | Marion Poschmann (Germany) | Fatemeh Shams (Iran & USA) | Keston Sutherland (UK) |Xi Chuan (China)
Presenter: Maren Jäger (Germany) literary scholar
Weltklang – Night of Poetry is the many voiced opening of the poesiefestival berlin. Poets from all corners of the world will be reading, singing and performing in seven different mother tongues. They demonstrate the wealth of contemporary poetry with its diversity of approaches and styles. For those who can read German, an anthology is being exclusively published specially for the event with translations into German of the texts being read.
Since the release of her debut album, but especially since Anima Mysterium (I.O.T Records 2019), Yugen Blakrok (born in 1984 in the Eastern Cape Province) has been regarded as her country’s queen of alternative rap. Her texts are futuristic, virtuoso and complex and are full of dense metaphors and old knowledge. Her appearance on the soundtrack of the film Black Panther was a major moment for contemporary South African music.
The books and readings of Patrizia Cavalli (born in 1947 in Todi, Umbria) enjoy cult status in her homeland. Her poems, written from the perspective of a stroller, oscillate between epiphany and resignation. They are depictions of an ”ever open theatre”, the stage of which is the scene of life with the taxi meter running.
Anja Golob (born in 1976 in Gradec) is the shooting star of European poetry. Her poems are full of rips, nicks and crumbs. In a language that is extremely articulately jointed she tells of the beginning and end of love and of the ThereYesterday and HereToday.
The work of Rainer René Mueller (born in 1949 in Würzburg) is in the tradition of Paul Celan. His poems are structures saturated with history in which the after-rumblings of the horrors of the past century can still be felt. A noticeable feature of them is their radical linguistic concision which works with scraps of quotes and bits of sentences that are graphically isolated from the text. Mueller will be reading unpublished poems and a selection from his latest volume geschriebes. selbst mit stein (written things. self with stone) (Edition aouey 2018).
Eileen Myles (born in 1949 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is now something like a rock star in the American poetry scene. They did their first readings in the legendary CBGB’s club in Manhattan’s East Village, where bands like the Ramones and Blondie played. They will be reading poems from their latest collection Evolution (Grove Press 2018).
The poems of Marion Poschmann (born in 1969 in Essen) are precise and quiet. They combine science and beauty. Awarding her the Berlin Literature Prize in 2018, the jury described her poetry as “[making] a quite different kind of deceleration happen. Following it you find whole new worlds of language opening up of Baroque opulence and expansive Romantic diversity”.
Fatemeh Shams (born in 1983 in Mashhad) was forced to leave her homeland in 2009. After several years in London, she now lives in exile in Philadelphia. Her poems have strong imagery that is harsh and elegant at the same time and, while political, are also intensely personal. They reflect the brutality of migration and war, combining mourning with recalcitrant desire.
Poet and musician Keston Sutherland (born in 1976 in Bristol) is one of the most prominent exponents of contemporary experimental British poetry. His manic performances of his aggressively high-definition texts pull out all the stops. Sutherland will be reading poems from his latest collection Whither Russia (Barque Press 2017).
Xi Chuan (born in 1963 in Xuzhou) is one of the greats of contemporary poetry. Cosmopolitan and brimming with learning, he writes with laconic humour about leaking water pipes, corrupt officials with a romantic leaning and news that is written before the event. “All his poems are exercises in thinking, which do not let thinking get away with even the slightest complacency”, says Xi’s translator Lea Schneider.
Michael Weilacher (born in 1969 in Rochester NY) attended Eastman School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and received his 'Masters' diploma at the Rotterdamse Conservatorium. He currently lives in Berlin and performs regularly with Sasha Waltz@Guests, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Work in Progress, United Berlin among others.
Project leaders: Alexander Gumz | Matthias Kniep
Weltklang – Night of Poetry is presented with the kind support of the German Foreign Ministry, The Mandala Hotel, the British Council, the Slovenian Culture Centre Berlin and the Italian Culture Institute Berlin.