Artists 2016: Weltklang – Night of Poetry

Hinemoana Baker

Hinemoana Baker (c) Leonardo Carta

Hinemoana Baker (born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1968) has Maori and Pakeha parents and is a singer-songwriter and poet between Spoken Word and classical form. In her collections of poems kōiwikōiwi | bonebone and waha | mouth she artfully and blatantly mixes autobiography with text fragments from dictionaries and medical brochures. Baker writes about internal family language games with absent fathers, about the black and white rings around the eyes of a curlew, the rings in the skulls of eels and the profound wisdom contained in fortune cookies.
As a musician, Hinemoana Baker has released solo albums and, as Taniwha together with Christine White, the album Snap Happy. She is currently living in Germany as Creative New Zealand’s Berlin Writer in Residence.

Publications (selection):
waha | mouth. Victoria University Press 2014
kōiwikōiwi | bone bone. Victoria University Press 2010
mātuhi | needle.Victoria University Press/Perceval Press 2004

Caroline Bergvall

Caroline Bergvall (c) Tom Martin

Caroline Bergvall (born in Hamburg in 1962 of French and Norwegian parents) is one of the most highly-regarded contemporary conceptual poets. Her mutlilingual works, often created in collaboration with other artists, blur the boundaries between poetry, installation, performance and translation. Poet Charles Bernstein has described her work as a feast for the eyes, the ears and the mind. In books such as Drift or Meddle English she explores the fault lines between different languages and the fractures in the stages of development within a single language. Her texts experiment with cut-up and fold-in techniques and draw on such different artists as Chaucer, Marcel Proust, Unica Zürn and Dante Alighieri.
Bergvall was the Director of Performance Writing at Darlington College of Arts, and also taught at the University of Cardiff and at Bard College. He work has been shown in such venues as the Museum of Modern Art, the Serpentine Galleries and the Tate Modern. She has lived in the UK since 1989.

Publications (selection):
Drift. Nightboat Books 2014
Meddle English. Nightboat Books 2011
Middling English. John Hansard Gallery 2010
Fig: Goan Atom 2. Salt 2005

Ana Blandiana

Ana Blandiana

The first collection of poems by Ana Blandiana (born in Timișoara, Romania in 1942) was published in 1964. Until the Romanian revolution of 1989 she was a civil rights activist and spoke out clearly in her work and in interviews against the social evils of the Ceauşescu regime, which earned her a publication ban. Today she heads the Sighet Memorial, an institute for coming to terms with the legacy of Romania’s Communist past, and is chairwoman of the Romanian PEN Club. Her poems, however, are far from being merely agitprop. They combine the political and the personal and poetry of ideas with clear, strong imagery. Ana Blandiana has published more than twenty volumes of verse as well as shot stories, a novel and many essays. Her unpretentious poetry is a constant re-exploration of the contradictions of our present.

Publications (in English):
The Hour of Sand, translated by Peter Jay and Anca Cristofovici, Anvil Poetry Ltd., London, 1990

National poetry prize (Premiul Național de Poezie) 1997
Opera Omnia Prize for her life’s work, 1994
Herder Prize, Vienna 1982
Prose prize of the Bucharest writers’ union (Premiul pentru proză al Asociației Scriitorilordin București) 1980
Poetry prize of the Romanian Academy (Premiul pentru poezie al Academiei Române) 1970
Poetry prize of the Romanian writers’ union (Premiul pentru poezie al Uniunii Scriitorilordin România) 1969

Souleymane Diamanka

Souleymane Diamanka (c) Philippe Prevost

Souleymane Diamanka (born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1974) grew up in Bordeaux. His Spoken Word and Rap texts blend the rich imagery of the griots, the singers of West Africa, with the aesthetics of French Modernism since Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Diamanka thus updates the oral tradition of his forefathers, the Fulbe, a shepherd people from the Sahel region. Having grown up bilingual, he experiments with both languages, French and Ful, and the tension between their cultures. He speaks, raps and sings about muses in love, the sorrow of the angels and the voices in his head. Souleymane Diamanka is a showman and a thoughtful language artist at the same time. He weaves a self portrait in words that is as accurate as it is modest: “I am just a poor artist in the service of beauty” he writes in one of his texts. “When I write I use reality as a trampoline.“

Publications (selection):
Écrire à voix haute.Rencontre entre un poète et un linguiste (with Julien Barret). L’Harmattan 2012
L’Hiver Peul. CD. Universal France 2007

Luis Felipe Fabre

Luis Felipe Fabre

Luis Felipe Fabre (born in Mexico City in 1974) is a star of the young South American poetry scene, a pyrotechnician of language and form, whose poetic tools include both the classical eight-syllable tetrameter and the onomatopoeia of comics and cartoons. His poems are trailers for films that have never been made, poetic re-imaginations of national myths using the aesthetics of trash literature and splatter films. Fabre’s work is an exercise in political zoology, with velvet tarantulas crawling through his lines and foxes with bat-wings showing their PRI-ist claws. His short poetic essays deconstruct secondary literature with subtle, subversive wit. Luis Felipe Fabre is the author of many collections of poems and the editor of two anthologies of contemporary Mexican poetry. He curates the Poesía en Voz Alta festival.

Publications (selection):
Sor Juana and Other Monsters. UglyDuckling Presse 2015
La sodomía en la Nueva España. Editorial Pre-Textos 2010
Cabaret Provenza.Fondode Cultura Enconómica 2007

Gerhard Falkner

Gerhard Falkner (c) gezett

Gerhard Falkner (born in Schwabach in1951) has been shaking up the German poetry scene since the early 1980s. Since his debut, so beginnen am körper die tage (so the days begin with the body), poems bringing the aestheticism of Stefan George up-to-date, Falkner has been pushing the boundaries of contemporary poetry with every book and multi-media project. As well as prose, plays and perceptive, polemical essays, his work includes broad-based poetry projects such as a cycle filmed with actors from Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz theatre on the Pergamon altar frieze. Falkner also writes impressive, explosive poetry about tables, painkillers and the gods at Aldi.

Publications (Auswahl):
Ignatien. Elegien am Rande des Nervenzusammenbruchs.starfruitpublications 2014
Pergamon Poems. Gedichte + Clips. kookbooks 2012
Hölderlin Reparatur. Gedichte. Berlin Verlag 2008
Gegensprechstadt – groundzero. Gedicht, with music by David Moss. kookbooks 2005
Endogene Gedichte. Grundbuch. DuMont Verlag 2000
Über den Unwert des Gedichts. Fragmente und Reflexionen. Aufbau Verlag 1993
Wemut. Gedichte. Luchterhand Verlag 1989
der atem unter der erde. Gedichte. Luchterhand Verlag 1984
so beginnen am körper die tage. Gedichte. Luchterhand Verlag 1981

Auszeichnungen (Auswahl):
Wolfram von Eschenbach Prize 2014
Prize of the City of Nuremberg 2010
August Graf von Platen Prize 2009
Peter Huchel Prize 2009
Kranichstein Literature Prize 2008
Dr. Manfred Jahrmarkt Honorary Award of the German Schiller Foundation 2004
Bavarian Arts Promotion Prize for Literature 1987

Pergamon Poems III: Artemis | Tilman Strauß, Gerhard Falkner, Pergamonaltar:

Rasha Omran

Rasha Omran

Rasha Omran (born in Tartus, Syria in 1964) was expelled from the country because of her involvement in opposition to the Assad regime and currently lives in Cairo. The daughter of Syrian poet Mohammad Omran, she is one of her country’s most important poets. In the late 90s she founded the Al-Sindiyan literary and cultural festival in her home city, and was its director for 16 years. In 2009 she edited an anthology of contemporary Syrian verse. She has so far published five books of verse and a selection in Swedish. In her texts, Rasha Omran writes about history leaking from archives of past crimes, about body parts sunk in rivers like fish food and about poets who keep giggling despite all the bitterness. She also writes weekly columns for Arabic-language newspapers and media

Publications (selection):
بانوراما الموت والوحشة(Panorama of Death and Solitude). Poems. Dar Non 2014
معطف أحمر فارغ(An Empty Red Coat). Poems. Syrian Culture Ministry 2009
ظلك الممتد في أقصى حنيني(Your Shadow, Cast in my Utter Yearning). Poems. Al Tanweer 2003
كأن منفاي جسدي(As though my Exile my Body). Poems. Dar Arwad 1999
وجع له شكل الحياة(Pain in the Form of Life). Poems. Dar Arwad 1997

Charles Simic

Charles Simic (c) Richard Drew

Charles Simic (born in Belgrade in 1938) emigrated with his family from Yugoslavia to Chicago in 1953. He became a major American poet who, as he says himself, writes and dreams in a language he speaks with an accent. His work has earned awards such as the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize (for his Selected Poems 1963-2003, 2004) and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007 he was named as the 15th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress of the USA.
In his work, Charles Simic amalgamates various influences from American greats such as Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane and Theodore Roethke to nonsense verse, children’s verse and riddles to the Serb poets Ivan V. Lalić and Vasko Popa, whom he has translated into American. His poems are profound structures soaked in myth; but - “No myth without a funny bone.” The texts are full of cockroaches with fake identity papers and ants with Quaker hats. Buster Keaton meets Thomas of Aquinas, and Dostoevsky works as a bouncer in a murky nightclub. Simic is also a master of the small, everyday things in poems about coat-hangers, shoes, knives, lost gloves and keys.

Publications (a selection):
What the Grass Says, 1967
Unending Blues, 1986 (1987 Pulitzer Prize finalist)
Walking the Black Cat: Poems, 1996 (National Book Award in Poetry finalist)
New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012, 2013
The Lunatic, 2015
(for more see

PEN Translation Prize (1980)
Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship (1983)
MacArthur Fellowship (1984–1989)
Pulitzer Prize finalist (1986)
Pulitzer Prize finalist (1987)
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1990
Wallace Stevens Award (2007)
Frost Medal (2011)
Vilcek Prize in Literature (2011)
The Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award (2014)

Uljana Wolf

Uljana Wolf (c) Kai Nedden / Robert Bosch Stiftung

Uljana Wolf (born in Berlin in 1979) won the Peter Huchel Prize for her first collection of poems in 2006. Researching between languages plays a major role in her poems, in which she outlines what cannot be translated with clear forms. Living today in New York and Berlin, she explores political issues of identity, migration and language policy in her texts on migration between languages and cultures. Her poems have been translated into more than fifteen languages. Her texts are instruments of understanding, with their precision of sound, experimental forms and stylistic concretion of the sensual. Not only her own poems but also her translations, mainly from American and Polish, have brought her to the fore . In 2009 she co-edited the renowned annual anthology Jahrbuch der Lyrik.

meine schönste lengevitch. kookbooks 2013
Box Office. Münchner Reden zur Poesie 8. Stiftung LyrikKabinett 2009
falsche freunde. kookbooks 2009
kochanie ich habe brot gekauft. kookbooks 2005

In English:
false friends, translated by Susan Bernofsky, ugly duckling presse, New York, 2011

Awards (selection):
Adelbert von Chamisso Prize 2016
Erlanger Literature Prize for Poetry as Translation 2015
Wolfgang Weyrauch Promotion Prize 2013
Dresden Poetry Prize (jointly with Viola Fischerová) 2006
Peter Huchel Prize 2006