Sunday, 3. Juni

International Meeting of Partners

Sun. 3 June 11 am
Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, not open to the public is the website for listening to, reading and understanding German and international poetry. Poets from Brecht to Yeats, Nooteboom to Tranströmer read here in their original voices, a total of 830 poets with 7500 poems from 56 languages and with more than 10,000 translations. As part of the poesiefestival berlin, the partners in's world-wide network are coming together to exchange ideas and plan future steps.They will include partners from Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Catalonia, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and the Ukraine.

Project leader: Heiko Strunk, Assistant: Juliane Otto

Poetry Talk: Simple Truths

Sun. 3 June 3 pm 
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Clubraum, Admission € 5 / 3

Abdelwahab Meddeb writer, Tunisia / France, in conversation with Hamza Chourabi board member of the Association for Promoting Democracy in Tunisia, Berlin

'The clueless ones of our times' is the title of a poem by poet, novelist and Islamic scholar Abdelwahab Meddeb, that seems to take up the sound of a sandstorm, picking up and blurring literary traces and traditions. Meddeb is one of the most prominent proponents of French literature with a Tunisian background. 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, in which he underlines the relevance of literary classics to develop from them a more humane way of thinking. In conversation with Hamza Chourabi, Abdelwahab Meddeb will be explaining his approach to writing and discussing his poetry and its codes.

With the kind support of: The Mandala Hotel
Project leader: Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre

Colloquium: Living in Translation

Sun. 3 June 5 pm 
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Clubraum, Admission € 5 / 3
Event suitable for English speakers

With Hartmut Fähndrich Arabic scholar, Berne Hendrik Jackson writer, Berlin Dörte Schmidt musicologist, Berlin  Moderated by Ilma Rakusa writer and translator, Zurich

Translation is everywhere as exchange and appropriation. But how do poets, translators and musicians approach a foreign text? What do they make out of it? Do they try to stay faithful to it? Do they transform it? Do they express their admiration, or do they rather criticise, even ridicule?
Poet Hendrik Jackson will be speaking from his experience of various kinds of free translation, from the 'version' or 'adaptation' to inspired rewriting to imitative pastiche.
Hartmut Fähndrich, Arabic scholar, will be taking a long view over thirteen centuries of fruitful exchange between the Arabic and European worlds, focussing on the translations from Greek into Arabic in Baghdad in the Eighth to Tenth Centuries, the translation schools in Toledo and their translations from Arabic into Latin in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, the French translation of the Thousand and One Nights in the Eighteenth Century and finally the cultural and scientific exchanges of the past two hundred years.
Musicologist Dörte Schmidt deals with cover versions and draws connections between them and the translation of "sacred texts": can it be that this is exactly what covering a cult Bob Dylan song is for many performers?
Hartmut Fähndrich (born 1944) knows, teaches and translates modern Arabic literature, travels in Arab countries and incorporates the fruits of these travels into his work as an editor, etc.
Hendrik Jackson (born 1971) has translated Marina Tsvetayeva and Alexei Parshtshikov, and there as in his own texts he uses the means of poetry to explore the translateability of what is symbolic and (apparently) non-verbal, beyond language.
Dörte Schmidt (born 1964) teaches at the University of the Arts, where she does research into musical theatre, new music and the culture of musical writing, and is interested in translation within and between the arts.

With the kind support of: Pro Helvetia – Swiss Cultural Foundation, Prussian Maritime Trade Foundation, Weltlesebühne e. V.
Project leader: Gabriele Leupold

The Koran – in German

Sun. 3 June 7 pm 
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Clubraum, Admission € 5 / 3
Event suitable for English speakers

With Hartmut Bobzin Islamic scholar, Erlangen Ahmad Milad Karimi Islamic scholar, Freiburg  Moderated by Hartmut Fähndrich Arabic scholar and translator, Berne

After 11 September 2001 the Koran was sold out in all western bookshops; interest in the holy book of the Muslims, suddenly a political issue, was great. But what is this "verbal scripture" that we hear is so beautiful? Can it be translated in other languages? But though many attempts have been made, translating the Koran has confronted the translator not just with linguistic problems, but with poetic, aesthetic, theological and political challenges as well.
Islamic scholars Hartmut Bobzin and Ahmad Milad Karimi have accepted these challenges - and attractions - with differing assumptions and intentions and published the Koran in German. They will be talking about the paths and dead ends of translation, about the interplay of academic and artistic thinking and discussing the approaches they took towards solutions, including a comparison between selected passages of text and recitation and reading in Arabic and German.
Hartmut Bobzin (born in 1946) studied Protestant Theology, Religious Studies, Indology and Semitic Studies as well as Arabic Studies. He teaches Semitic Philology and Islamic Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and has been concerned for many years with the history of printing and interpreting the Koran in Europe.
Ahmad Milad Karimi (born in 1979 in Kabul, Afghanistan) studied Philosophy, Mathematics and Islamic Studies in Freiburg and New Delhi. He publishes children's books and books on Islamic Theology and Religious Education and gained a doctorate with a thesis on Heidegger and German Idealism.

With the kind support of: Pro Helvetia - Swiss Cultural Foundation, Prussian Maritime Trade Foundation, Weltlesebühne e.V.
Project leader: Gabriele Leupold

Konzert: Erdmöbel

Sun. 3 June 9 pm 
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Studio, Admission € 15 / 10

At the poesiefestival berlin, Erdmöbel, called "the greatest German band of our time" by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, will be appearing for a unique concert performance, playing selected covers of songs from the 60s to the present and some their own best songs. Erdmöbel adapt the lyrics of top ten hits like 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', translating them into their cosmos and demonstrating that covers are an art form of their own.

Not only do they often make wonderfully ludicrous German versions of the texts, but the band also arrange many songs against the grain, freed of any chart slickness. They shine in a cool, ironic, loving light - all the better for dancing to.
Erdmöbel have for years counted as one of Germany's most literary bands. Critics are seldom more unanimous: taz has described their music as "thinking man's pop", and the FAZ called their latest album a masterpiece. Singer and lyricist Markus Berges has also published the novel Ein langer Brief an September Nowak [A Long Letter to September Novak] (Rowohlt Berlin, 2010), which has also been highly praised in the cultural pages of the newspapers.
To conclude this theme day presenting translation as a poetic act, the horizon will open up to include an extra-literary field; but even covering songs is a form of translation, of transfer from one language to another.

Project leaders: Alexander Gumz and Gabriele Leupold