For the twelfth time, the poesiefestival berlin is presenting the best of poetry from around the world, as the poem in the conventional sense, and interwoven with other art-forms and media. And so a hundred and twenty-nine poets, artists, scholars and festival organisers have travelled from thirty-seven countries to join us here. Welcome to you all!
Weltklang – the Night of Poetry is once again bringing together some of poetry’s big names. Silvio Rodríguez (Cuba) and Billy Collins (USA) are appearing here for the first time in Germany. The Arab world is undergoing great change. Young poets are giving words, sounds and rhythms to the social changes in their countries. We are eagerly anticipating artists from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and the Lebanon to tell us things that have never yet been heard.
The VERSschmuggel / reVERSible event is concentrating this year on French poetry: poets from Germany and France have translated each other. The results are yet to be revealed. New poetry has long been written in Europe by people who have emigrated from elsewhere and contribute their own outlook and tone to the poetry of the countries they come to live in.
In e.poesie, the festival presents premiere performances that have come about in collaborations between composers of electronic music and poets.
The festival will also be discussing the artistic quality of song texts in the German-speaking context and presenting a unique concert.
‘Escrituras en libertad’ is an exhibition in the Instituto Cervantes on experimental poetry from the Spanish-speaking world. It reveals that this is where the conditions were created for what is now known as digital poetry.
Never has Poets’ Corner featured so much colour and diversity from Berlin as this year, and never have the programmes for children and teachers been as full.
As an independent art-form, poetry needs its own distribution strategies to gain maximum public exposure. The installation ‘Movens’, which is on show in the entrance foyer to the Academy of the Arts, and which features novel ways for disseminating poetry, is part of the festival’s presentation and discussion this year of the different ways markets for poetry can be set up, and with Pecha Kucha, originating from Japan, a presentation process that has become a cult is for the first time being applied to poetry.
‘Dichtraum, Denkraum’ / ‘Space for Poetry, Space for Thought’ is a social installation, in which twenty-one poets give us an insight into the way they produce poetry – in public and face-to-face, in the Brandenburg Gate underground station.
Film portraits of poets from the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival and poetry discussions on individual poetic positions round off the aesthetic and medial offering of this year’s festival.
The pulse of poetry is powerful. It lives in every language and in many different formats.
I would like to express my warmest thanks to the Capital City Cultural Fund and to all our partners and sponsors. Many thanks are also due to the Academy of the Arts and all our project heads and co-workers.
Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt
Director of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin
and Director of the poesiefestival berlin