Artists – Weltklang Night of Poetry

Marcel Beyer

Marcel Beyer (born 1965 in Tailfingen, Germany) grew up in Kiel and Neuss and studied German, English and Literature at the University of Siegen. In 1992 he completed his degree with a paper on Friederike Mayröcker, whose collected prose and poetry he was later to edit.   As a poet and novelist, Beyer is one of the most influential of contemporary German-speaking writers. His poetry is a polyphonic sounding-out of many different worlds of images and ideas in language that is always precise and at the same time playful.   As well as his own poems and translations, Beyer has published several essays, an opera libretto and four critically-acclaimed novels, in which he deals with the body, language and music, and, increasingly, with historical and scientific topics. His current novel on the ornithologist Kaltenburg has been described on Deutschlandradio as a “stroke of good fortune for contemporary German literature”.  
Among many other prizes and awards, Beyer received the 1997 Uwe Johnson Prize, the 2001 Heinrich Böll Prize, the 2003 Friedrich Hölderlin Prize of the City of Tübingen, the 2006 Erich Fried  Prize and the 2008 Joseph Breitbach Prize. His novel Kaltenburg was long-listed for the 2008 German Book Prize.    
Publications (selection):  
Das Menschenfleisch, novel (Frankfurt am Main 1991)
Flughunde, novel (Frankfurt am Main 1995)
Falsches Futter, poems (Frankfurt am Main 1997)
Spione, novel (Cologne 2000) 
Erdkunde, poems (Cologne 2002)
Nonfiction, essays (Cologne 2003)
Kaltenburg, novel (Frankfurt am Main 2008)
Arbeit Nahrung Wohnung. Stage Music for Fourteen Gentlemen, opera libretto (composer Enno Poppe) (2008)  

Iva Bittová

Iva Bittová (born 1958 in Bruntál, Czech Republic) is among many other things a writer, singer, actor and violinist. Her stage appearances are a whirling trip taking in jazz, folk, New Music and sound poetry. Bittová combines her instrumental and vocal art with her own texts an such different sources as Moravian folk music and Gertrude Stein’s complex work.  
Coming from a musical family, Bittová took ballet and violin lessons from an early age. She later went on to study acting, singing, violin and composition. Even as a child she played various roles in Czech film and television productions. She performs regularly in Europe, the USA and Japan. She is a successful soloist, but has also worked with Hamid Drake, Marc Ribot, David Krakauer, Don Byron, David Moss, Bill Frisell and others. As well as pursuing her text and music career, Bittová continues to work as an actor. In 2004 she played Zena in the film Želary, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Iva Bittová lived for several years in Lelekovice, a village near Brno. In 2007 she moved to the USA, where she now lives in the north of upstate New York. She has released more than 20 CDs since the late 1980s.    
Publications (CD selection):  
Moravian Gems (Cube-Metier, 2007 )
Vladimír Godár (Mater: ECM, 2007), CD Susumu Yokota (Skintone, 2006)
DVD: Superchameleon (Indies, 2006)  

Iva BITTOVA sings *Ne nehledej*

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Yves Bonnefoy

Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923 in Tours, France) is, alongside René Char, Francis Ponge and Henry Michaux, one of the major French poets of the post-war period. His poetry is almost unique in combining complexity and elegance, impenetrability and classicism. He is one of the last great hommes de lettres, whose artistic and intellectual energy is not limited to one field and combines art with its reflection. For Weltklang he will be reading for the first time in Germany from his latest collection Raturer outre.
Bonnefoy attended the Lycée Descartes in Tours and from 1941 -1943 studued mathematics at the University of Poitiers. He subsequently went to Paris and joined the group around the painters Victor Brauner, Raoul Ubac and Hans Bellmer. In the 1950s he studied philosophy and art history at the Sorbonne. In 1967, Bonnefoy, together with André du Bouchet, Gaëtan Picon and Louis-René des Forêts began editing the influential art and literature magazine L'éphemère. In 1981, he was appointed Professor of Comparative Literature at the Collège de France – one of the most highly-regarded chairs of its kind in Europe. Bonnefoy gained great recognition not only as a poet and essayinst, but also for his translations into French of such writers as Shakespeare, Yeats and Leopardi. As well as writing his own poetry and writing academic pieces on his colleagues, Bonnefoy has also published essays on art and art history, including on Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró.      
Among many other distinctions, Bonnefoy has been awarded the Gabriele d'Annunzio Premio internazionale di Poesia‚ the 1971 Prix des Critiques, the 1995 Balzan Prize for Art History and Art Criticism in Europe and the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca. In 2007 he received the Franz Kafka Prize of the Prague Franz Kafka Society and the Horst Bienek Prize for Poetry.    
Publications (selection):  
u mouvement et de l1immobilité de Douve, 1953
Hier régnant désert, 1958
Pierre écrite, 1964
Dans le leurre du seuil, 1975
Ce qui fut sans lumière, 1987Début et fin de la neige, 1991
La vie errante, 1993
Les planches courbes, Mercure de France, 2001 (tous au Mercure de France et dans la collection Poésie-Gallimard)
Keats et Leopardi, Mercure de France, 2000
Le coeur-espace 1945, 1961, Farrago, 2001  

Lecture de Yves Bonnefoy à l'Ecole normale supérieure

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Tsead Bruinja

Tsead Bruinja (c) Tineke de Lange

Tsead Bruinja (born in Rinsumageest, the Netherlands in 1974) is a poet and lives in Amsterdam. His 2000 debut was De wizers yn it read (The meters in the red), a collection written in Frisian. His first collection in Dutch, Dat het zo hoorde (The way it should sound), was published in 2003 and was nominated for the Jo Peters Poetry Prize the following year. Bruinja edits anthologies, writes criticism and organises literary events, such as the open-air festival Dichters in de Prinsentuin (Poets in the Garden of the Prince). He frequently collaborates with artists in other genres, such as the musician Jaap van Keulen and the Flamenco dancer Tanja van Susteren. At the end of 2008 he was nominated as Dichter des Vaderlands 2009–2013, a Dutch title inspired by the ‘poet laureate’. Bruinja came second.

Publications (selection):
Overwoekerd. Uitgeverij Cossee 2010
De geboorte van het zwarte paard (Dutch-Frisian). Uitgeverij Cossee 2008
Kutgedichten (with Daniël Dee). Uitgeverij Passage 2004
Gegrommel fan satyn (Gegrommel van satijn). Uitgeverij Bornmeer 2003

Billy Collins

Billy Collins (born 1941 in New York City, USA) studied at the University of California and now teaches creative writing at the Lehman College in the Bronx. Collins isone of poetry’s few bestsellers. His collections of verse sell in the USA in upper five-figure print runs, and are enthusiastically read, put on Youtube with little cartoon films and downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Such different poets as Rita Dove, Robert Bly, James Tate, Louise Glück and Charles Simic have selected poems by Collins for the annual anthology, The Best American Poetry. Collins is an example that is scarcely imaginable in Germany of how clever, brilliantly constructed, complex poems can reach a large audience. He masterfully combines humour with depth. On 6 September 2002 he read his poem ‘The Names’ at an extraordinary session of the US Congress held in memory of the victims of the attacks of 11 September 2001.  
Billy Collins has been awarded fellowships for his work by the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. For two years, 2001 to 2003, he held the office of Poet Laureate of the United States.    
Publications (selection):  
Nine Horses, Random House, Inc.. 2002
The Trouble With Poetry, (2005); reprint Random House, Inc., (2007)
She Was Just Seventeen (2006)
Ballistics (2008)
Horoscopes for the Dead (2011)  

The Dead - Billy Collins Animated Poetry

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El Général

The Tunisian rapper El Général (born 1989 in Safaqis, Tunisia) came into the public eye in early 2011 during the so-called Jasmine Revolution. His song ‘Rais Lebled’ (Head of State) became the protest hymn of the young demonstrators. Hamada Ben-Amor, as El Général is called in civilian life, comes from Tunisia’s second-largest city, Safaqis, where he grew up with his two siblings in a religious Muslim family.
In 2008 he began writing political rap, taking his lead mainly from the hip hop scene in Algeria, where young people had produced rhymes critical of the system in the late 1980s as a reaction to the regime’s brutal suppression of mass protests. In late 2010 El Général published his song ‘Rais Lebled’ online. The song went viral on Facebook and Twitter throughout the Arab world. The political situation in many Arab countries was already very unstable at that time. In Tunisia, his critical words were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many young people decided to go on to the streets and fight for political change. The Tunisian regime then had the young rapper arrested in December 2010. El Général was forced to sign a statement undertaking never again to incorporate political themes into his raps. But then Tunisia’s repressive regime collapsed. This brought the opening up of new opportunities for El Général, who had already become a star. The new Culture Ministry promised to support him in his work on his album, and today his hymn plays on the radio several times a day. El Général will be touring Tunisia and bringing out his debut album ‘La Voix Du Peuple’ (The Voice of the People) in 2011.  

el général, the voice of Tunisia, english subtitles

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Kim Hyesoon

Kim Hyesoon (born 1955 in Ulchin, South Korea) was one of the few young writers in the early 1980s who were openly engaged in opposing the repressive policies of the government. Today she teaches creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Kim is one of Korea’s most popular and most-read poets. Her astounding linguistic creations have contributed to poetry’s taking new paths in Korea and overturning the traditional male view of things into the bargain.
Kim is above all a poet of the big city Seoul, finding her subjects and themes in its labyrinth. In her poems she reflects the yearnings of a society that has lost its orientation in the quicksand of crises and promises of salvation. With apparent ease, she constructs allegories which can never be resolved completely into anything beyond her highly form-conscious texts themselves. Rather, the wide international readership of her poetry testifies to how her unmistakeable linguistic experiments invite multiple interpretations and ever-new ways of looking at our contemporary situation.    
Publications (in English):  
When the Plug Gets Unplugged, Tinfish Press, 2005
Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women, Zephyr Press, 2006
Mommy Must be a Fountain of Feathers, Action Books, Notre Dame, Indiana, 2008  

Silvio Rodríguez

Silvio Rodríguez (born 1946 in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba) is one of the best-known Cuban songwriters. His songs have been famous throughout the Spanish-speaking world since the 1970s and have been covered many times by other singers.
Rodríguez, born into a peasant family, has been a waiter, a student and a draughtsman and was in Angola as a military musician. For a while he worked for Cuban television and under Leo Brouwer in in the now legendary Grupo de Experimentación Sonora group for sound experiments at the Cuban Film Institute ICAIC, where his own first records were also released. Rodríguez started writing poems very early on. It was not, however, until between 1964 and 1968, after discovering the guitar, that Silvio first composed his own songs. In 1967 he made his debut appearance on television. In his music he is able to fascinate even those people who cannot support his political views. His songs such as ‘Ojalá’ and ‘Unicornio’ still appeal not just to his own generation. His songs are melancholy and romantic, but also critical. His first solo record ‘Dias y Flores’ (Days and Flowers) appeared in 1975 after he had already been composing hundreds of songs for many years. This has been followed by more than 20 other records, most recently ‘Segunda Cita’ (2010).    
Discography including:
Silvio Rodríguez – Segunda Cita (2010)
Silvio Rodríguez – Cita con ángeles (2008)
Silvio Rodríguez - Días y Flores (1975)
Al final de este viaje (1968), Unicornio (1982)
Triptico (1984)
Causas y azares (1986)  

silvio rodriguez OJALA

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Kathrin Schmidt

Kathrin Schmidt (born 1958 in Gotha, Germany) studied psychology in Jena, specialising in social psychology. Her poems range from nature lyrics to urban settings, investigations of the body to poems on time. Diversity of forms meets unornamented precision, always softened by a dry, wordly humour.
Her poems were first published a magazine in 1979. After completing her studies with a diploma as a psychologist in 1981, she initially worked as a research assistant at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig, but following her first publication she decided to look for a job in the practical sphere, finding one in 1983 as a child psychologist in the former Rüdersdorf District Hospital. In 1985 Schmidt moved with her children to Berlin. In late 1987, her first poetry collection Ein Engel fliegt durch die Tapetenfabrik (An Angel Flies Through the Carpet Factory) was published, and at about the same time she started work at the Ernst Ludwig Heim Polyclinic in Marzahn, again as a child psychologist. After the fall of the Wall, she was a member of the Berlin Round Table discussion group as a representative of the United Left, which meant that she gave up her job as a psychologist. She was subsequently editor of the East Berlin women’s magazine YPSILON, worked with the Berlin Institute for Comparative Social Research and Janus e.V., before beginning to work as a freelance writer at the end of 1994. Being freelance gave Schmidt her first opportunity to work on longer prose texts. She wrote the novel Die Gunnar-Lennefsen-Expedition, which was published in 1998. Since then, several highly-acclaimed poetry collections and novels have appeared.    
Distinctions (selection)  
1993 Leonce and Lena Prize of the City of Darmstadt
1994 Meran Poetry Prize
1998 Prize of the State of Carinthia in the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition
2001 German Critics‘ Prize
2003 Droste Prize of the City of Meersburg
2005 Lotto Prize of the State of Brandenburg
2009 German Book Prize for Du stirbst nicht    
Publications (selection)      
Ein Engel fliegt durch die Tapetenfabrik, poems, Berlin 1987
Flußbild mit Engel, poems, Frankfurt am Main 1995 
Die Gunnar-Lennefsen-Expedition, novel, Cologne 1998 
Go-In der Belladonnen, poems, Cologne 2000 
Flußbild mit Engel, poems, Munich 2000. Reissue
Koenigs Kinder, novel, Cologne 2002 
Seebachs schwarze Katzen, novel, Cologne 2005
Du stirbst nicht, novel, Cologne 2009
Blinde Bienen, poems, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2010 
Finito. Schwamm drüber. stories, Cologne 2011