Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt, Leiter der Literaturwerkstatt Berlin und Direktor des poesiefestival berlin
Welome by Thomas Wohlfahrt
The Festival sets markers for one of humanity's oldest art forms, that makes vitality, great beauty and contemporary relevance its own - poetry. And so it is appropriate that the Festival in under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission.
Weltklang is survey of the world in poetry, a concert of verses in voices and languages. Never has a Parliament of Poets from every EU member state yet made a statement in verse on the state of Europe, its fears and its values, in anger, sadness or desire, in a political way of saying that is different, because it is poetic, and therefore all the more powerful. The start poem, the 'foundation stone' for renshi.eu comes from Greece and is continued all over Europe with the technique of the chain poem, finishing at the end with a 'completion stone', also from Greece.
The Nile as Africa's Vital Artery will be explored through poetry and politics, as will the poetry of Syria, occasioned by events that are all too current and bloody. The answers provided by poetry, whether in Arabic, Amharic, Swahili or English, have their own validity, revealing richness and beauty and interrogating the day after peace is made.
A colloquium on Living in Translation will be exploring what it is that makes poetic translation as thrilling as a detective novel. Whether the Koran can be translated at all, and if so how, is a question that unleashes violent debates. When Erdmöbel present their cover versions of world hits in their concert, they have been involved in translation just as much as the inimitable Fátima Miranda in her bewitching stage show perVERSIONS.
In this year's VERSschmuggel poems by poets from Brazil and Germany will be the goods smuggled over the borders of language and culture.
There has never before been such a fuull programme for children and young people. The night programmes present titbits from Performance and Film, the whole city is one more a stage with Poets’ Corner, and festival organisers and lyrikline partners from around the world will once more be meeting to work on strategies for more networking.
The poesiefestival berlin will close with a big poetry market with all the bustle of a funfair and plenty of poetic wit, and a programme of music on the stage to take us smoothly and seamlessly into the European football championships.
I would like to thank the Hauptstadtkulturfonds and all our partners and sponsors, and an especially big thank-you goes to the Academy of the Arts and all our project leaders and co-workers.
Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt
Director of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin and the poesiefestival berlin