Artists – Weltklang Night of Poetry

Tomomi Adachi

Tomomi Adachi (born in 1972 in Kanazawa, Japan) is a sound poet, composer and performer. His works are located at the interface where poetry and music, vocal performance and improvisation meet. Adachi is also a theatre director and installation and video artist.
In his sound poems he experiments with his voice, overlaying sounds on top of each other. Digital sounds combine with vowels, consonants, scratching sounds – language and music, body and sound merge, culminating in a vibrating poem.
Adachi is within the poetic tradition of both East and West. As well as his own work, he performs works by Takahashi Yuji, Yuasa Joji, John Cage and Dieter Schnebel and others and performed the Japanese première of Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate.
Adachi uses instruments he has designed himself for many of his performances, such as home-made synthesisers in Tupperware boxes and his ‘Infra-Red Sensor Shirt’, a shirt with which the body movements of the person wearing it produce sound events.
As well as making solo appearances, Adachi frequently works with other performers, including Yasunao Tone and Jaap Blonk. His compositions and performance concepts for lay choirs and ensembles are performed after rehearsal in workshops or with the Adachi Tomomi Royal Chorus – a punk-style choir as he calls it himself.
Tomomi Adachi studied Philosophy and Aesthetics at Waseda Uníversity in Tokyo, writes criticism of fine arts, music and performance art, and taught at the Tama School of Art in Tokyo from 2007 to 2010. He has made more than four hundred appearances around the world since 1994.
His works have been presented at locations including Tate Modern (London), the IRCAM/Centre Pompidou (Paris), the National Museum of Art (Osaka), and in the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
He is currently a guest of the Berlin Artists’ Programme of the DAAD.

Ken Babstock

Ken Babstock (born 1970 in Newfoundland, Canada) was not yet forty years old when he was named one of Canada’s ten best living English-speaking poets in 2009. His latest collection, from which he will be reading for Weltklang, has brought him his second nomination for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the world’s most valuable prize for poetry.
Nominating him for the 2007 Griffin Prize, the judges wrote, “Here we find a poet who can do almost anything, both formally and in his exploration of such subject matter as romantic love, landscape, the body, the city, physical pain and a joyful awareness of the sensory details of a world full of marvels and riddles. Yet no matter what his subject matter is, or how he chooses to approach it, he never settles for effect: Babstock can be terse, darkly funny, tender, elegiac, wise, mysterious, but he is always fresh and always honest.”
Babstock grew up as a vicar’s son in Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley. His involvement with poetry began in his teens. After dropping out of Concordia University, Montreal, he worked for twelve years in forests and factories and on building sites in Ireland and Canada.
His first collection of poetry was published in 1999 by the renowned House of Anansi Press in Toronto, which has remained his publisher since and for which he now works as poetry editor. His subsequent three volumes, Days into Flatspin (2001), Airstream Land Yacht (2006) and Methodist Hatchet (2011), were all highly praised in the Canadian Press – comparisons have been drawn between Babstock and W. H. Auden.
He is currently a guest of the Berlin Artists’ Programme of the DAAD. 

Julian Heun

Julian Heun © Fabian Stuertz

Julian Heun (b. 1989 in Berlin) is a writer, slam poet and show host from Berlin-Konradshöhe. He writes and speaks in the space between artful humour and humorous art. Three times German-language Poetry Slam Champion, he works for Fritz Radio and the creative agency DOJO. He has been a feature of poetry slams and cabaret stages since 2007 and has won more than ten prizes. He has been a guest of the Goethe Institute at international poetry festivals in Europe, Africa and South and North America. Julian Heun studied Comparative Literature and German, while also writing for the Bildzeitung newspaper and the satiric TV show Neo Magazin Royale. In 2013 his first novel, Strawberry Fields Berlin, was published by Rowohlt. In addition he organises and hosts with the “Edellauchs” Berlin’s biggest poetry slams in the Ritter Butzke, the Volksbühne theatre and the Strandbad as well as the 2019 German-language Poetry Slam Championships.


Strawberry Fields Berlin. Roman, Rowohlt, Reinbek 2014


German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (U20) 2007

Winner Slam Tour with Kuttner 2008

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2009

Goldener Stuttgarter Besen, 2010

Audience Award Stuttgarter Besen 2010

Herborner Schlumpeweck 2011

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2011

German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (Team) 2013

German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (Team) 2017

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2019

Yan Jun

Yan Jun (born in 1973 in Lanzhou, China) is one of the central figures in the cultural underground in Peking and is a poet, a musician and a critic and runs the independent label KwanYin.
His readings are unconventional, combining poetry with electronic sound collages into what he calls ‘Hypnotic Noise’. As well as these performances, he is increasingly also doing spare readings that are minimalistically conceived.
He has not been able to publish many of his more recent poems in China for political reasons, though they have been translated into English, French, Dutch and German. Yan Jun, who is also a blogger, writes about the relationship between poetry and politics in China today, “Either all poems are political or there are no political poems. Writing poems is in itself a political act.”
The poems he will be presenting for Weltklang have dates at the top like diary entries, but they are very far from being comfortable inner reflections. They are surreal and concrete, energetic and full of self-irony, lyrical and political at the same time. Such various poetic objects can be encountered in them as Maxim Gorki, John Lennon, the Internationale and Mao Tse-tung.
Yan Jun studied Chinese and worked as an editor before moving to Peking in 1999. Since 2001 he has been co-editor of the unofficial literary journal Shu (Writing) and has published three collections of verse: Sishijiu shou (49 Poems, 1996), Cisheng Bo (Infrasound, 2001) and Bu Keneng (Impossible, 2006), as well as several CDs featuring text and sound collaborations and radio plays.

Jessie Kleemann

Jessie Kleemann (born in Upernavik, Greenland in 1959) is a poet, dancer and video and performance artist who lives and works in Copenhagen. Her poems were first published in the collection Taallat in 1997, and bring motifs from Eskimo traditions into the globalised present. Mystical nature imagery collides with real social problems, sea-mothers with Brigitte Bardot, dog sledges with 4x4 cars. Thus Kleemann’s poetry, written in Greenlandic and Danish brings the Eskimos’ world of imagery up to date for the 21st Century. She seeks inheritance and identity in the broken linguistic material of the post-modern and creates texts in which the beautiful and the ugly do not rule each other out.
After training as a lithographer, Jessie Kleemann studied at the Tuukkaq Theatre in Fjaltring, Jutland in 1978-1979, and from 1984 to 1991 she was the director of the School of Art in Nuuk. She established a poetry festival in Greenland, has written film scripts and has had her own TV show. She has developed a ‘body art’ based on traditional masks and rituals for her provocative performances, using her own body as a living canvas. From the poems Kleemann has read for, the artist Swoon (Marc Neys) has created a video-poem journey taking viewers into the northern reaches of Greenland.

Publications (selection):
Poem for video.Performance/Video 2001-2003
Taallat. Digte. Poems. Fisker & Shou 1997
Spirit Hosts Join the Elements. Performance/Video 1991-1993
Kinaasunga (Who this who am I).Performance/Video 1988-1989

Abdelwahab Meddeb

Abdelwahab Meddeb (born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1946) is a cross-border artist of a kind that is rare in contemporary literature. One of the most prominent French writers of Arab origin, he raises aesthetic and social questions to which there are no easy answers.
In his work, Meddeb deals primarily with the roots and history of Islam, its literatures, its culture and the problems involved in integrating Muslim traditions into the process of the modern age. He constantly criticises anti-democratic tendencies in Islam as well as Western perspectives that polarise and over-simplify. Poetry, novels, essays and academic texts go hand-in-hand in his oeuvre.
Meddeb’s poems, of which a selection has been published in English (Tombeau of Ibn Arabi, Fordham University Press, 2010, translated by Charlotte Mandell), stride through a swathe of image worlds taking in the landscapes of Tunisia as well as the traditions of Eastern and Western literature  and philosophical discussions. Motifs and traditions are called up, blurred and transformed in long movements of text.
Meddeb comes from a family of theologians and scriptural scholars at the Zitouna University in Tunis. After studying Art History and Literature, he was a reader in a large Paris publishing house before becoming editor of his own literary series for Editions Sindbad from 1974 to 1988. Since the early 1990s, Meddeb has been devoting himself increasingly to academic interests and has been a guest lecturer at universities and research centres in Geneva, Florence and Paris and at Yale.
Today he lives in Paris and works as a writer and journalist. He is the editor of an inter-cultural journal, dedale, and works for the ‘Cultures d'islam’ programme on the radio station France Culture.

Nikola Madzirov


Macedonian poet, essayist and translator Nikola Madzirov was born in Strumica in 1973, and is one of the most significant younger eastern European poets who have gained a worldwide audience. His debut collection Zaklučeni vo gradot (Locked in the City) made him a literary star. Themes such as home and being without a home are central to his poetry. Being without a home is even contained in his name, since majir means ‘man without a home’. His poems have been translated into more than thirty languages and published in books and anthologies in Europe, the USA and Asia.

His collection Premesten kamen (Relocated Stone) won him the 2007 Hubert Burda Prize for East European Poets and the major Macedonian honour, the Brothers Miladinov Prize. Madzirov has been awarded several residencies around the world including the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, the Literarisches Tandem in Berlin, the International Writers’ House in Graz, Villa Waldberta in Munich and the LCB.


Zaklučeni vo gradot (Magor 1999)
Premesten kamen
(Magor 2007)

Publications in English translation:

Remnants of Another Age (BOA Editions, USA, 2011 and Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2013)

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Michael Palmer

The Harvard Review has called Michael Palmer (born in New York in 1943) one of America’s most important poets. Palmer is a multi-faceted writer, editor and translator from French, Russian and Portuguese, who has made a name for himself in cross-genre music and theatre projects.
He frequently collaborates with musicians and performers; from 1974 he was involved in more than twelve dance theatre projects with Margaret Jenkins. But he has also collaborated with fine artists, including Gerhard Richter.
In an interview, he has said about his many-faceted, allusive and at the same time playful writing, “Everything I do seems over time to be a form of collaboration with the voices of poets and other people that are going through me as I work. My ideal of pure collaboration, that is never fully realised, creates a work that belongs neither to its creator nor to anyone else. It’s a work that is, in the words of one of my poems, “neither you nor me”.
Palmer’s first collection of poems was published in 1971. Since then, he has published almost twenty books of poems which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He has received many important prizes, including the America Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets, the Shelley Memorial Prize and a fellowship of the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also written essays and radio plays as well as a book of prose. He was a co-editor of the magazine Sulfur.
A selection of his poems from the 1970s to the present is finally appearing in German translation (by Rainer G. Schmidt) in 2012 from the wonderful kookbooks press, and Michael Palmer will be reading from those poems for Weltklang.

Monika Rinck

Monika Rinck © Ute Rinck

Monika Rinck (born in Zweibrücken in 1969) is a poet, song lyric writer, essayist and translator and lives in Berlin. Her work uniquely combines laconic expression with opulence; it is philosophical and sensual, comic and serious at the same time. Rinck collaborates with other poets and with artists and musicians, including the composers Franz Tröger and Bo Wiget as well as poets Ann Cotten and Sabine Scho (as the Rotten Kinck Schow). Together with poet Orsolya Kalász she translates from Hungarian (e.g. the poets Márió Z. Nemes and István Kemény). Rinck has been awarded many prizes and honours for her work, most recently the Peter Huchel Prize for her collection Honigprotokolle, the Heimrad Bäcker Prize and the Kleist Prize. Monika Rinck is a member of P.E.N. Club, the poetry collective ‘Lyrikknappschaft Schöneberg’, the Academy of the Arts Berlin and the German Academy for Language and Poetry.
Publications (selection):
Risiko und Idiotie. Streitschriften. kookbooks, Berlin 2015
Hasenhass. Eine Fibel in 47 Bildern. Verlag Peter Engstler, Ostheim/Rhön 2013
Honigprotokolle. kookbooks, Berlin 2012
Helle Verwirrung/Rincks Ding- und Tierleben. Gedichte. Texte unter
Zeichnungen. kookbooks, Berlin 2009
zum fernbleiben der umarmung. Gedichte. kookbooks, Berlin 2007
Ah, das Love-Ding. Essays. kookbooks, Berlin 2006
Verzückte Distanzen. Gedichte. Zu Klampen, Springe 2004

In English:
to refrain from embracing, translated by Nicholas Grindell, Burning Deck, Providence R.I, 2007