VALUES VERSE ART – this motto encapsulates what poetry is – art bound into lines of verse and always with an underlying moral compass. Language opens up spaces for possibilities, especially when it is at play. A critical evaluation to secure our language is more important now than ever in an age when reality is denied and smothered over with the linguistic templates of various ideologies. Critical work with language exposes concrete structures using language to do it, and for this it can have recourse to the works of concrete, visual and sound poetry of the 50s and 60s, a time when the detoxification of language after the Second World War was once before an urgent theme and contributed to the political and aesthetic self-assurance of our societies.
For the 19th poesiefestival berlin, Berlin archives, galleries and private collections are presenting rarely-seen treasures of concrete, visual and sound poetry. The first World Climate Poetry Summit shows how poets are taking up man-made climate change into their language. Elke Erb is giving the Berlin Poetry Lecture under the title “A Poem Is What It Does”. The Poetry Market offers, besides readings, books from poetry publishers, provides a forum for a discussion about publishing itself and about opportunities for online-based poetry criticism. The three D poetry series, a space for the possibilities of dance, music and poetry, presents two new productions. There will be music from Poets and their Bands. A large programme has been developed specially for schoolchildren and their parents and teachers. Poets from the Czech Republic have been invited to Berlin for the translation workshop VERSschmuggel/reVERSible. As ever, the festival opens with Weltklang – Night of Poetry.
I would like express my warmest thanks to all our partners and sponsors, to all 150 poets and artists and especially to the Hauptstadtkulturfonds and to the Academy of Arts and to my team. I wish us all an exciting 2018 festival.
Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt
Director Haus für Poesie