Reading with Lindita Arapi ALB/GER | Theodoros Chiotis GRE | Kapka Kassabova BUL/GBR | Nikola Madzirov MKD | Ana Ristović SEB | Damir Šodan HRV/NLD | Aleš Šteger SLO introduced by: Mascha Dabić AUT | Nikola Madzirov MKD
Just like their newly-created states, the poets moved apart during the Balkan wars in the 1990s, despite having similar cultures and traditions. Today a new generation is overcoming the chasms of resentment and seeming foreignness, many of its members living in other countries. Beyond nationalistic ideologies a new common space is being created through dialogue and projects. Distance from their actual countries of origin enables them to gain an overview of developments in the region. From this perspective social trends can be spotted before they find their way into language and conviction. In their readings the poets will be presenting the varied thematic worlds of their poetry. Lindita Arapi has lived in Germany since the 1990s and recently initiated a call to the Albanian parliament finally to open the files from the period of the Communist dictatorship. Theodoros Chiotis edited the anthology Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis last year and demands solidarity, resistance and poetry as a political paradigm. Kapka Kassabova leads her readers through the nameless streets of her childhood in Communist Bulgaria. Having emigrated as a teenager, she now lives in Scotland, without losing sight of the Balkans. Ana Ristović has no respect for convention. In her poems she raises her voice against the “official version of history”. Damir Šodan, who has lived in the Netherlands since the end of the war in Yugoslavia, has worked as a translator for the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia. He works the theme of war into his poems ironically and sarcastically. Aleš Šteger is an eye-witness of the refugee camps on the Balkan route. His poetry moves between European forgetting and false expectations for the future, while deconstructing presumed truths.