For the ninth time now, the poesiefestival berlin is providing space for the poetic arts, a setting that is unique in our country and attracts attention from around the world, as poetry is here an independent art. More than 150 poets and artists from 25 countries have joined us and given us an insight into their art, working with words and their language in a way that makes us eager to listen and see. It is the wish of the poesiefestival berlin that we free ourselves of our blockages vis-à-vis the poetic arts and give humanity’s oldest artistic technique its place in society once again. This year’s focus is the lusophone world, whose language is the fifth most-widely spoken in the world and is at home on four continents.
The poesiefestival berlin is a working festival. VERSschmuggel, the festival’s large translation workshop, ensures that German poems can now be appreciated in Portuguese-speaking countries, a task supported not least bywww.lyrikline.org, which, during the festival, will be awarded the title “Landmark in the Land of Ideas". In five debut performances, you will be able to hear and experience the results of poets who have been working together with composers of electronic music. Children will be presenting the results of their poetic activities as will the Singakademie Berlin, which has taken up the task of transposing concrete poetry using composition and song. Poetry in the digital world is another theme as is marking out the city with poetry and graffiti! A stage version of T.S. Eliot’s "The Waste Land" will mean another premiere of a long poem in theatrical form. At the colloquium, poetry centres from across the world will be introducing themselves and opening up a discussion about the creation of a “House of Poetry” in Germany.
The highlights of this year’s festival will certainly include events such as "Weltklang"/”World Sounds”, the big Africa evening, the portrait of Lisbon, the unique double concert by Arnaldo Antunes and Chico Cesar as well as the concert by Ursula Rucker and Mike Ladd. But I would also like to draw attention to the exclusive night-time programme and the poetry talks.
The poesiefestival berlin is this year being held at the Akademie der Künste. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to its president, Klaus Staeck, and all his colleagues at the Akademie for their outstanding teamwork. My thanks also go to the festival’s patron, the Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit.
I would like to express equal gratitude to the Capital Cultural Fund and all the festival’s partners at home and abroad as well as our sponsors. I would equally like to thank all those who support us with words and deeds, the translators, for example, without whom the festival would not be possible.
I wish all our guests a fun time in Berlin as well as strength, good luck and success with their performances. I hope our audience enjoys many surprises and discoveries in the world of poetry, a world that crosses many arts and media.
Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt
Director der Literaturwerksatt Berlin
Head of the Poesiefestival Berlin