The digital 22nd edition of the poesiefestival berlin starts this Friday. Under the heading There Lies Europe, the Festival will, from 11 to 17 June 2021, be exploring the poetry of Europe in its diversity of forms and languages and despite the pandemic building bridges across the continent. With 150 artists from around 40 countries, the festival website poesiefestival.org has put together an extensive programme of readings, discussions, concerts and workshops.
Kurt Tucholsky wrote in 1932, “There Lies Europe. What does it look like? Like a colourfully painted madhouse.” Following this motto, the 22nd poesiefestival berlin is taking an ambivalent look at the political, cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe through poetry and its material, language, locating its pain points and finding common denominators.
These thematic nodes of the Festival can be followed in deeper detail even before the start of the Festival in 70 written interviews, essays and anthology contributions, which can be accessed free online.
Even before the Festival starts, all visitors are invited to join in with writing a collective chain poem. Starting from Kurt Tucholsky’s ‘Europa’, visitors can envisage the continent’s various futures in poetry in a shared online document until the end of the Festival.
On 11 June at 7.45 pm, the Festival will be opened by Klaus Lederer, Senator for Culture and Europe of the State of Berlin, and Barbara Gessler, Head of Unit Creative Europe, European Commission, in previously filmed words of welcome. Then at 8 pm Weltklang – Night of Poetry opens the Festival proper with poets from all over the world reading, singing and performing in their native languages. This year they are: Ichiko Aoba (JPN), Ben Lerner (USA), Hannah Lowe (GBR), Valzhyna Mort (BLR/USA), Chus Pato (Galicia, ESP), Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (NLD), Marko Tomaš (BIH), Peter Waterhouse (AUT) and Judith Zander (DEU).
The full programme can be accessed online at poesiefestival.org. The events are accessible via a paywall. Tickets costing € 3 and Festival passes costing just € 19 allow access to the productions from the start of the Festival and then for two months.