Artists 2010 – Weltklang - Night of Poetry

Elke Erb

The poetry of Elke Erb (b. 1938 in Scherbach in the Eifel region of Germany) combines linguistic analysis, discursivity, everyday worlds and subtle references to history, literature and art. Over the decades she has lost nothing of her energy, zest and playful precision.
Erb moved to Halle in the GDR with her family in 1949. There, she initially studied Education, History and German language and literature, and worked by her own decision as an agricultural worker on a state-owned farm, subsequently completing a degree in Education. During this time she made her first literary efforts.
From 1963-66 Erb worked as a volunteer and subsequently as a reader in the Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle. In 1966 she moved to Berlin, writing reviews and preparing opinions for publishing houses on Russian fiction. Her first poems were published in 1968. From 1968 to 1978 she was married to the writer Adolf Endler, who died in 2009. It was at this time that she began translating from the Russian in addition to her own literary production.
Elke Erb has been awarded many prizes for her poetry including the Peter Huchel Prize, the Heinrich Mann Prize, the Erich Fried Prize, the Award of Honour of the Schiller Foundation and the Hans-Erich Nossack Prize for her life's work.
Publications (a selection):
Trost. Gedichte und Prosa. Selected by Sarah Kirsch, Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1982.
Vexierbild, Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin, Weimar 1983.
Kastanienallee. Texts and Commentaries, Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin/Weimar 1987.
Mensch sein, nicht. Poems, Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 1998.
Sachverstand. Werkbuch. Poems, Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein: 2000.
die crux. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 2003.
Gänsesommer. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein 2005.
Sonanz. Poems. Urs Engeler Editor, Basel/Weil am Rhein: 2008.
Elke Erb at ZVAB

El triunfar (Elke Erb, Alemania)

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Dmitry Golynko

Dmitry Golynko (b. 1969 in Leningrad, Russia), is a poet, art historian and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, one of them being also in English. Golynko lives and works in St. Petersburg.
In his early poems, frivolous phantasmagorias twist and turn, combining Rococo elements, fin de-siècle aestheticism and present-day club culture into a merry but dark mix. In his later poems, playfulness has given way to a concentrated sparseness, a "lexical naturalism", as his colleague and translator Eugene Ostashevsky calls it. This naturalism reveals the Russian language of the 21st Century in its new brutality – the world of criminality and the primacy of pure profit.
Golynko gained his doctorate with a thesis on the Russian Post-Avant-Garde of the present, and has since been working as an art critic and also co-edits the "Moscow Art Magazine". From 2004 to 2005 he was a guest professor for Slavic Studies in South Korea. He writes regular articles for art, literature and film journals in Russia, the USA and New Zealand.
Dmitry Golynko has received several international bursaries for his poems, which have been translated sofar into nine languages, and he has been nominated for the prestigious Andrey Bely Prize.
He currently works at the Russian Institute for Art History in St. Petersburg and teaches at the Film School there.
Publications (a selection):
Homo Scribens, Borey Art Center, St. Petersburg 1994.
Директория, Kolonna Publications, Moscow 2001.
Бетонные голубки, New Literary Review, Moscow 2003.
As It Turned Out, Ugly Duckling Press, New York 2008.

Nina Kibuanda

Nina Kibuanda (b. 1977 in Kinshasa, Congo), is a poet, slammer and actor. He moved to Paris when he was 12, and soon discovered his talent for writing and acting. At the age of only 13 he started rapping and joined the group 'Ligne de Mire', subsequently concentrating increasingly on slam poetry.
Kibuanda's texts, some of which he co-writes with Bruno Vieillescazes, are combative and poetic at the same time. They combine rhythmic power with expressive images in the fight against fear, misery and violence and for the hope of the underdogs, and their – as he puts it in one of his poems – "dreamed home".
From 2002 to 2007 Kibuanda acted on various stages in plays by Férenc Molnar and Amadou Hampathe Ba, and in adaptations of Heiner Müller and Anton Chekhov. In 2008 he put on Sarah Kane's last play, “4.48 Psychosis”, himself.. He has organised slams in places including Paris, Cherbourg and Angers, and works regularly with children and young people, in universities and old people's homes. Kibuanda lives in Nantes.
Since 2006, he has been bringing his various talents together to combine poetry, performance and music in "Ninslamjazz" with jazz musicians Emmanuel Bigot, Jammaria Croocklin and Wee-Lye.
For "Weltklang" he will be accompanied by Maykèz, a modern interpreter of traditional Maloya music from the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

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Michael Krüger

Foto: Peter-Andreas Hassiepen

Michael Krüger (b. 1943 in Wittgendorf, Saxony, Germany), has been one of the key figures in Germany's literary life for several decades as a poet, translator and editor.
Krüger is not just the managing director of the Munich press Carl Hanser Verlag, editor of the journal “Akzente” and the “Edition Akzente” series of titles and member of various academies, but is first and foremost a writer of poems, stories, novellas and novels.
His poems rely on the apparent simplicity of poetic images, the clarity of form. They are accessible structures in which it is nonetheless – happily! – possible lose one's way. One emerges from them changed.
After doing his “Abitur” at a Berlin “Gymnasium”, Krüger trained as a publisher's bookseller and book printer, while also sitting in on lectures in the Philosophy Department of the Free University Berlin. From 1962 to 1965 he lived in London, working as a bookseller. He began working as a literary critic in 1966.
In 1972, Krüger published his own poems for the first time, with his debut as a fiction writer twelve years later with the book “Was tun? Eine altmodische Geschichte” [What Should We Do? An Old-Fashioned Story]. This has been followed since then by numerous other collections of stories, novels, edited works and translations.
Among many other distinctions, Michael Krüger has bee awarded the Peter Huchel Prize, the Ernst Meister Prize and the large Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.
Publications (a selection):
Reginapoly. Poems, Hanser, Munich and Vienna, 1976.
Diderots Katze. Poems, Hanser, Munich and Vienna, 1978.
Was tun? Eine altmodische Geschichte, Wagenbach, Berlin 1984.
Das Ende des Romans. A Novella, Residenz, Salzburg 1990.
Der Mann im Turm. Novel, Residenz, Salzburg 1991.
Wettervorhersage. Poems, Residenz , Salzburg 1998.
Brief nach Hause. Poems, Residenz, Salzburg 1993.
Nachts, unter Bäumen. Poems, Residenz, Salzburg 1996.
Die Cellospielerin. Novel, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2000.
Kurz vor dem Gewitter. Poems, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2003.
Unter freiem Himmel. Poems, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2007.
Michael Krüger at ZVAB

Yang Lian

Yang Lian (b. 1955 in Berne, Switzerland) spent his childhood in Peking as the son of Chinese diplomats. In 1974 he was sent into the countryside for "re-education by the peasants" and started writing while there. Three years later he was working as a programme director and editor with the state broadcaster. When he returned to Peking, Lian wrote for the underground literary journal 'Jintian' and published his first "modernistic" poems in it.
In the course of extended travels in the subsequent years, he followed the traces of China's history and wrote his works, including the long poem 'Nuorilang', which was heavily criticised by the government in 1983 in its campaign "against intellectual pollution". Until the end of the 1980s, Yang worked on his to date most extensive poem cycle, Yi, which over 200 pages is structurally based on the “I Ching” Book of Changes.
"It is not poets who write poems, but the poems that write the poets," Yang has written in one of his essays. In another, he writes, "a poem is nothing other than the attempt to bo beyond the boundaries of language." Yang's work draws the consequences of these convictions in an impressive way. The images his poems are at the same time clear and insoluble. Language's own dynamism and the poet's technical skill infuse each other. Current events, including political ones, and traditions, both Eastern and Western, are woven together. The dead of history are rescued from oblivion in Yang's poetry, partly to give warning and partly as ghosts.
As well as Europe, Yang travelled widely in Australia and New Zealand up to the end of the 1980s, and it was there that the news reached him of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. He has been living in exile ever since. His prizes include the 1999 Flaiano International Prize for Poetry in Italy. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages. Yang Lian is now a New Zealand citizen and lives in London.
Publications (a selection):
Huang Hun, Shanghai Wenyi Press, Shanghai 1986.
Huang, Ren min wen xue chu ban she, Bei Jing 1989.
Ren de Zijue, Sichuan Renmin Press, Sichuan 1989.
Taiyang Yu Ren, Hunan Wenyi Press, Hunan 1991.
Zuo Pin 1982 – 1997, Shanghai Wenyi Press, Shanghai 1998.
Yue Shi De Qi Ge Ban Ye, Unita Books, Taipei 2001.
Yi, Green Integer, Los Angeles 2002.
Xin Zuo 1998 –2002, Shanghai Wenyi Press, Shanghai 2003.
Yang Lian at ZVAB

Yang Lian reads 'Yi' at the Soundeye Festival 2005

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Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943 in Colombo, Sri Lanka) is known in Germany mainly as a novelist. Besides well-known novels such as „The English Patient”, however, most of his published work is poetry, the precise, laconic language, rich in imagery, of which is also an integral element of his prose.
Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. He went to school in England, then moved to Canada with his mother in 1962, and has lived there ever since. He settled in Toronto at the end of the 1960s, where from 1971 to 1983 he taught English Literature at York University and later at Glendon College.
Together with his wife, writer Linda Spalding, he edits the literary journal 'Brick', and he has been poetry editor of the small but influential Toronto press Coach House Books since the 60s. He has also produced three films. including a documentary about the poet bpNichol.
As well as novels, Ondaatje has published thirteen collections of poetry, a fictionalised autobiography and a book of conversation with the cutter Walter Murch, for which he was awarded the 2003 Kraszna Krausz Prize for the best film book of the year.
His numerous distinctions also include the Giller Prize, the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the Prix Medicis, the Canada's Governor General's Award and, for “The English Patient”, the prestigious Booker Prize. In 1988, Michael Ondaatje was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Publications (a selection):
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-handed Poems, Anansi 1970, New York: Berkeley, Toronto 1975.
There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do. Poems 1963-1978, W.W. Norton, New York 1979.
Running in the Family. Memoirs, W. W. Norton, New York 1982.
The English Patient. Novel, Knopf, New York 1992.
The Cinnamon Peeler. Selected Poems, United Kingdom: Pan 1989; New York: Knopf, London 1991.
Handwriting. Poems, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1998 and Knopf, New York 1999.
Anil's Ghost. Novel, Knopf, New York 2000.
The Story. Poems, House of Anansi, Toronto 2006.
Divisadero. Novel, McClelland and Stewart, Toronto 2007.
Ondaatje at ZVAB

Michael Ondaatje reading The Cinnamon Peeler

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Anat Pick

Anat Pick (*1955 in Kfar Saba, Israel) is a sound poet, composer and performer. She began her career as a musician, subsequently developing sound performances based on a mix of the phonetic systems of Oriental and Western languages.
Anat Pick's texts are tightly-structured works for voices which sound out the border area between language and music. In Pick's technically virtuoso presentation, body and articulation, semantics, syntax and sound merge into a single unit.
Her first long performance, “The Forbidden Museum”, was presented in the Vienna Festwochen festival in 1997. Since then she has appeared at major poetry and music festivals in Israel, Europe and Asia.
Pick regularly collaborates with other artists, poets and musicians, and not infrequently in live free improvisations. She has created several works for ensembles, including “Musica Nova" and "Israel Contemporary Players". Her recent piece "Tongues and Levers" for voice and Futurist intoners premièred in New York in 2009.
Pick has a longstanding, abiding interest in Dada and futuristic poetry, which she researched in 2008 as a guest of the International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa. She is currently working on a CD featuring poems by Dada artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
Publications (a selection):
Dada Sound Poetry (CD). Poems by Kurt Schwitters, Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. (produced in cooperation with the Janco Dada Museum), Ein Hod, Israel, 2008.
Double Text / Hearat Shulaym (score) Sound & Text Editors: Lea Mauas, Diego Rotman. Salamanca Group, Israel, 2002.
Cartoons for voice and large ensemble (score) music by Menachem Zur, sound text by Anat Pick (Israeli Music Center publication, 2009.
tongue Trum 2 (score) in 'The Iowa Review' Vol. 39 No. 2, The University of Iowa Press, USA, 2009.

Israeli poetry with free improv bass, part 2

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Cole Swensen

Cole Swensen (b. 1955 in Kentfield, USA) divides her time between Iowa, Washington DC and Paris. She works as a writer, translator and editor and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. Her own press, La Presse, publishes French poetry in English translation.
Cole Swensen's poetry, which, historically speaking, is grouped with Post-Language Poetry, is a reflective, erudite, and at the same time liguistically sensuous art, which draws on both American and French traditions of poetry and art. Her 'serial poems' are sequences of texts with very closely-woven motifs running through them which can deal as much with landscape gardens as with ghost stories.
Swensen has published more than ten collections of poetry in the USA to date, which have garnered awards such as the Sun & Moon’s New American Writing Award, the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. Her collection “Goest” (Alice James Books, 2004) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her translations from French have also won awards, such as the PEN USA Literary Award for Translation 2004.
Cole Swensen has been called by Library Journal "one of the most convincing voices in contemporary poetry". This will be her first reading in Berlin.
Publications (a selection):
New Math, William Morrow & Co., New York 1988.
Numen, Burning Deck Publications, Providence, R.I. 1995.
Noon, Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles, CA. 1997.
Try, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City 1999.
Oh, Apogee Press, Berkeley, CA 2000.
Such Rich Hour, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City 2001.
Goest, Alice James Book, Farmington, Maine 2004.
The Book of a Hundred Hands ¸University of Iowa Press, Iowa City 2005.
The Glass Age¸ Alice James Books, Farmington, Maine 2007.
Ours. Poems on the gardens of Andre Le Notre¸University of California Press, Iowa City 2008.
Cole Swensen at ZVAB

Raúl Zurita

Raúl Zurita (b. 1950 in Santiago de Chile, Chile) is one of the most striking contemporary Latin American poets. His poetry expresses, like almost no other, in a precise and powerful torrent of words the tension between the suffering subject and anger towards history.
Zurita was arrested after the military coup in 1973 and incarcerated with nearly 100 other people in the hull of a ship. After his release he founded the radical artists' group CADA, in which he made a mark above all with his provocative and very physical performances. He gave expression to his protest against the Pinochet regime by having poems written from vapour trails in the sky over New York or scratching verses as "wounds" in the Atacama Desert.
Zurita inscribed himself permanently into the cultural memory of Latin America with his trilogy “Purgatorio” (1979), “Anteparaíso” (1982) and “La vida nueva” (1993), which modified Dante's “Divine Comedy”. His prizes for this includethe Pablo Neruda Prize (1989), the Chilean National Prize for Literature (2000) and the José Lezama Lima Prize (Cuba, 2006).
Violent controversy followed the publication in 2006 of his work “Los Países muertos” (The dead countries), in which he explicitly and mercilessly criticised personalities from the cultural life of Chile. In spite of his controversial nature – or even because of it – as the foreword to an anthology of contemporary Chilean poetry in 1986 puts it, "the new poetry of Chile is measured against the work of Raul Zuritas."
Publications (a selection):
Purgatorio, Universitaria, Santiago de Chile 1979.
Anteparaíso, Asociados, Santiago de Chile 1982.
Canto a su amor desaparecido,Universitaria, Santiago de Chile 1985.
La vida nueva, Universitaria, Santiago de Chile 1994.
Poemas militantes, Dolmen Ediciones, Santiago de Chile 2000.
Sobre el amor y el sufrimiento, Editorial Andrés Bello, Barcelona 2000.
INRI, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Santiago de Chile 2003.
Mi mejilla es el cielo estrellado, Instituto Coahuilense de Cultura, Saltillo, Coahuila 2004.
Los Países Muertos,Ediciones Tácitas, Santiago de Chile 2006.
Las ciudades de agua, Ediciones Era, México D. F. 2007.
Cuadernos de guerra, Ediciones Amargord, Madrid 2009. 
Raúl Zurita at ZVAB