Welcoming Address by Prof. Monika Grütters MdB
Monika Grütters (c) Christof Rieken
Fata Morgana is a mirage, an optical illusion that has led many an exhausted wanderer in the desert astray. The poesiefestival berlin is showing us that the idea of Europe is more than such a mirage, more than a vague hope in an age of exhaustion. Some 170 poets from all over the world are bringing their joy in artistic experimentation to make this a festival celebrating diversity and an open, cosmospolitan outlook and freedom of art and ideas, and as such a demonstration of European values, for a Europe that can be and wants to be more than just a free trade area. It is precisely now, in a time when Europe is confronted by great political challenges and has to prove itself yet again in various conflicts, that we need the creative power of poetry for the changes that are needed.
To understand what kind of Europe we want to live in we need to take note of the observation by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein that “The borders of my language mean the borders of my world.” Poetry is able to shift these borders and enlarge the area of what can be thought and imagined. We see a lot of things differently through its imagery, often more clearly even. So I am glad that the poesiefestival berlin is this year once more inviting us to experience the power of poetry that breaks down borders.
I wish to thank the festival’s director Thomas Wohlfahrt and his team most sincerely for their commitment and the fantastic ideas which are sure to thrill many lovers of literature yet again in this 18th year of the festival. I wish you all an intense and inspiring encounter with the power of poetry.
Prof. Monika Grütters MdB
Chancellery Minister of State