‘No finer land’– that means Germany, but the world as well. We have just the one world, and it is not in good shape: war, environmental degradation, impoverishment, expulsion, flight and fanaticism are global problems. Any nation state attempting to seal itself off to protect itself against all this is just lying to its own people and creating new inhumanity. Fundamental rethinking is needed!
Poetic thought and poetic forms widen the field of vision for this. The Poetry and Conflict and Balkan Balcony events are bringing together writers who write in conflict zones and are committed to human rights. The Colloquium will be discussing flight in literary and religious writings. The Winter Journey by Schubert and Wilhelm Müller comes under the microscope of the present age, confronted with texts by Heiner Müller.
For the 17th poesiefestival berlin some 150 poets and artists from 37 countries have been invited to share their poetic investigations into the driving mechanisms of this world. Excellent translations are the prerequisite for understanding. So I am very pleased that two VERSschmuggel / reVERSible projects will be presenting their results this year, one of which features poets writing in Hebrew and German, and the other, Poets translating Poets, in co-operation with the Goethe Institute in Mumbai, is an encounter between German and the eighteen languages of the South Asian sub-continent.
Between Weltklang and the lively marketplace bustle of the Poetry Market, you are warmly invited to see and hear for yourself how the world appears and sounds in verse and music. The programme also includes offerings for children, concerts and cross-genre poetic events. I wish everyone involved and you, our audience, an exciting festival. I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors, especially the Hauptstadtkulturfonds and the Academy of Arts.
Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt
Director of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie and the poesiefestival berlin