20th poesiefestival berlin casts a glance at the art of poetry in the US

The 20th poesiefestival berlin (14 – 20 June) forges the USA into focus. A stage production relocates Walt Whitman‘s Leaves of Grass to an American trailer park and unfolds into a kaleidoscopic verbal journey through the landscape of the United States. In the associated Poetry Talk Kyle Dacuyan (USA) from the Poetry Project New York, the director of the staging, Leopold von Verschuer (Germany) and Ulla Haselstein (Germany) from the John F. Kennedy-Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin will be attempting to get to the bottom of how Whitman and his Leaves of Grass interrogate present-day USA and Europe.

The translation workshop VERSschmuggel – ReVERSible pairs up six US poets (Jericho Brown, Mario Chard, Linda Gregerson, Ilya Kaminsky, Sandra Meek, Brenda Shaughnessy) and six German poets. The results of this intensive poetic exchange will be presented in a bilingual reading and in an anthology due for publication by Das Wunderhorn Verlag in Spring 2020. In the Poetry Talk A Peaceful Country the authors from the workshop will be talking about the social climate on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Two events on queer poetry are linked to 50 years of Stonewall, referring to the riots in the gay scene bar “Stonewall Inn” in New York that marked the beginning of the Christopher Street Day parades and the gay rights movement worldwide. Readings and discussion in Queer Poets. Queer Voices – 50 Years on from Stonewall reflect on the current situation of the LGTB-community in different countries with Angélica Freitas (Brazil), Lee Mokobe (South Africa), Urayoán Noel (Puerto Rico/USA) and Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki (Poland). In the panel discussion Stonewall was a riot! the US authors Edmund White, Eileen Myles and Jericho Brown, will try to get to the bottom of what remains of the spirit of that revolt.

The spoken word icon from the US, Sarah Kay, together with Yugen Blakrok (South Africa), Francesca Beard (Malaysia/UK) and Julian Heun (Germany) perform in the first-rate spoken word night Superpowerpoetry.

A Poet’s Evening and a Poetry Talk about Translingual Poetics present border crossers in language. Don Mee Choi (South Korea/USA), LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs (USA), Johannes Göransson (Sweden/USA), Sawako Nakayasu (Japan/USA) und Urayoán Noel (Puerto Rico/USA) have the US as common reference point but how can English be bent towards Spanish, Swedish, Korean, Japanese, Maori, Hindi and Swahili? The authors will be presenting their texts as sound installation, performance, reading or collage.

20th poesiefestival berlin casts a glance at the art of poetry in the US