Weltklang – Night of Poetry

Yugen Blakrok

Yugen Blakrok © Christopher Terhart

Since the release of her debut album, but especially since Anima Mysterium (I.O.T Records 2019), Yugen Blakrok (born in 1984 in the Eastern Cape Province) has been regarded as South Africa’s queen of underground rap. She herself describes her work as “alternative hip hop” which combines the “darker and more lyrical sides” of the genre. Her lyrics and Spoken Word texts are futuristic, bulging, virtuoso and complex. They are full of dense metaphors and old knowledge.

Yugen Blakrok grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape Province and began listening to hip hop in the late 1990s – artists such as Public Enemy, Zulu Nation, Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul. In 2002 she moved from Cape Town to Grahamstown and made her first public performance in 2004 at the Hiphocalypse Mixtapes Festival. In 2007 she moved to Johannesburg where she was signed by the producer and sample artist Kanif the JhatMaster. Her first album, Return of the Astro-Goth, was released in 2013. The appearance of a song by Blakrok, recorded with Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar, on the soundtrack of the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther was a major moment for contemporary South African music.


Return of the Astro-Goth, Iapetus, 2013    

Anima Mysterium, I.O.T Records, 2019

Patrizia Cavalli

Patrizia Cavalli © privat

Patrizia Cavalli (b. 1947 in Todi, Umbria) left the Umbrian provinces for Rome in the late 1960s. Under the wing of the writer Elsa Morante she developed her own voice, characterised by colloquial simplicity. This set her very much apart from the hermetic currents of the time and the major figures in modern Italian poetry, Eugenio Montale and Giuseppe Ungaretti.

On a quickly-sketched map of literature, the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who praises Cavalli’s work as “perhaps the most fluent and consistent” poetry of the 20th Century, accords her a special position. According to Agamben, her poems manage the miracle of opening up a space “where the primeval reptile poetry, that has survived its own extinction, grazes without a thought”.

Publications in German (selection)

Diese schönen Tage. Ausgewählte Gedichte 1974-2006, Carl Hanser Verlag 2009

Anja Golob

Anja Golob © Jost Franko

Anja Golob (b. 1976 in Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia) is the shooting star of European poetry. Besides Kristina Hočevar she is at present her country‘s most important poet. Her poems are full of rips, nicks and crumbs. In a language that is extremely articulately jointed she tells of the beginning and end of love and of the ThereYesterday and HereToday, of what makes the heart a “cushion for pins”. In passing, her readers also learn something about the speed of light in a vacuum and the luminosity of glow worms in nanometres.



da ne bo več prišla da ne bo da me žge da se odganjam ... self-published Maribor 2019
Didaskalije k dihanju. 2016
Vesa v zgibi. Mladinska knjiga 2013
V roki Litera. Maribor 2010

Publications in German:

ab und zu neigungen, hochroth Wien 2015
Anweisungen zum Atmen, Edition Korrespondenzen 2018
Taubentext, Vogeltext (together with Nikolai Vogel), hochroth Müchen 2018

Rainer René Mueller

Rainer René Mueller © Buck

Rainer René Mueller (b. 1949 in Würzburg) has remained largely unknown, since his work has always gone radically against the current of the times. His poems follow in the tradition of Paul Celan. They are structures dense with history and with a large echo chamber in which aftershocks of the horrors of the past century can still be felt. A noticeable feature of them is their radical linguistic concision which works with scraps of quotes and bits of sentences that are graphically isolated from the text. It is a “halting, stammering language placing itself with an army of punctuation marks against the direction of march of normal language“ (Michael Braun). The scattered word particles in the poem are alien and mysterious. With Mueller we sit on “goldhot oversteamed” balconies, the silence is set alight, the autumn is “beautiful as book corners”, and yet the “Goebbels gob” is always threateningly within hearing.

Publications (selection):

POEMES – POETRA, roughbooks 2015

geschriebes. selbst mit stein, Edition aouey 2018

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles © Shae Detar

Eileen Myles (b. 1949 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) began their career as a poet in the New York City of the 1970s, where they were influenced by the second generation of writers of the New York School including James Schuyler, Alice Notley and Bernadette Mayer. They did their first readings in CBGB‘s, the famed club in the East Village of Manhattan, where such bands as the Ramones, Patti Smith, Johnny Thunders and Blondie played. They are now something like a rock star in the American poetry scene. The backs of their books carry blurbs by the likes of Lena Dunham and Kim Gordon. Myles describe themselves as “an angry white lesbian wandering through the burning streets”, as a “bastard poet from the conservative diaspora” who came to New York City to stir things up. They certainly succeeded in that in their incomparable way, with their typical short-lined, laconic style and to date 20 books of verse to their name.

Publications (selection):

Chelsea Girls, Black Sparrow Press 1994                                                                                      

Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014, Ecco Press 2015

Afterglow (a dog memoir), Grove Press 2017

Evolution, Grove Press 2018

Marion Poschmann

Marion Poschmann © Frank Maedler

Marion Poschmann (b. 1969 in Essen) grew up in Mülheim an der Ruhr and in Essen. She studied German, Philosophy and Slavic Studies, and from 1994 Scenic Writing at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Poschmann has received many prizes and awards for her poetry and prose, including the Peter Huchel Prize and the Ernst Meister Prize for Poetry, the Klopstock Prize for New Literature and the Berlin Literature Prize, which also earned her a guest professorship in German-language poetics at the FU Berlin. Poschmann has been shortlisted twice for the German Book Prize. In 2019 her novel Die Kieferninseln (The Pine Islands) was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize.

Poschmann is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry, the Mainz Academy for Sciences and Literature, the Free Academy of the Arts in Hamburg and the PEN Centre Germany. She lives in Berlin.


Publications (selection):

Verschlossene Kammern. Gedichte, zu Klampen, Lüneburg 2002

Grund zu Schafen. Gedichte, Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, Frankfurt am Main 2004

Schwarzweißroman. Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, Frankfurt am Main 2005

Geistersehen. Gedichte, Suhrkamp, Berlin 2010

Die Sonnenposition. Roman, Suhrkamp, Berlin 2013

Geliehene Landschaften. Lehrgedichte und Elegien. Suhrkamp, Berlin 2016

Die Kieferninseln. Roman, Suhrkamp, Berlin 2017

Fatemeh Shams

Fatemeh Shams © privat

Fatemeh Shams (b. 1983 in Mashhad, Iran) won a silver medal in the National Olympiad of Persian Literature at the age of just sixteen. She studied at the University of Teheran and the Aga Khan University in London.

After her sister and her husband were arrested by the Iranian government, she was forced to go into exile in 2009. After spending several years in London, Shams currently lives in Philadelphia (USA), where she is an Assistant Professor for Modern Persian Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been stateless for more than 8 years now.

Since 2013 Shams has published three volumes of poetry, which have earned her awards including the prize as the best young Persian poet at the Jaleh Esfahani-Poetry Festival in London and the 2016 Latifeh Yarshater Prize. Her most recent collection is a bilingual collection translated by one of the most well-known British poet-translaters, Dick Davis. Shams also gained a PhD in Oriental Studies from Oxford University in 2015.



88, Gardoon Verlag, Berlin 2013

Writing in the Mist, London, H&S Media 2015

When They Broke Down the Door, Mage Publishers, Washington D.C. 2016

Keston Sutherland

Keston Sutherland © privat

Poet and musician Keston Sutherland (b. 1976 in Bristol) is a major exponent of British experimental poetry. His manic performances of his aggressively high-definition texts pull out all the stops. He is one of the most important members of the second generation of what is known as the Cambridge School, a Modernist movement that radically rejects a conservative understanding of poetry. Like his mentor, the great poet J.H. Prynne, Sutherland is an enthusiastic Marxist exegete. His long poem “Hot White Andy” on desire in the age of late capitalism has been celebrated in Jacket Magazine as the “most remarkable poem in English to have been published so far this century”. In 1995, together with the poet Andrea Brady, Sutherland founded Barque Press, one of the major publishers of experimental contemporary literature.

Publications (selection):

Antifreeze, Barque Press 2002

Hot White Andy, Barque Press 2007

Stress Position, Barque Press 2009 

The Odes to TL61P, Enitharmon Press 2013

Poetical Works 1999-2015, Enitharmon Press 2015 

Whither Russia, Barque Press 2017

Xi Chuan

Xi Chuan © Zheng Yang

Xi Chuan (b. 1963 in Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province, China) is one of the great poets of the present, yet hardly anything by him is available in German or English translation. In China he has published ten volumes of poetry and several collections of essays. His poems have been set to music, made into stage plays and used as part of installations. Xi has translated Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges and Cesław Miłosz into Chinese and has received many Chinese and international literary prizes.

Xi Chuan was already writing poetry as a student and in 1988 he founded the poetry magazine Qingxiang (Tendency), which was banned after three issues. From 1990 to 1995 he worked for the magazine Xiandai Hanshi (Modern Chinese Poetry) and for Huangqiu (Globe Monthly). Xi Chuan has been a guest professor at, among others, New York University and the University of Victoria in Canada. He is currently teaching Classical Chinese Literature at the Central Academy for Fine Arts in Beijing and also edits many national and international poetry collections.

Publications in German:

Die Diskurse des Adlers. Gedichte und poetische Prosa. Translated from Chinese by Brigitte Höhenrieder, Peter Hoffmann and the Tübinger Arbeitskreis Chinesische Literatur, projektverlag, Bochum 2003