24th poesiefestival berlin – no one is an island


24th poesiefestival berlin: no one is an island


From June 9th to 16th, 2023, Berlin will again become a world capital of poetry with poesiefestival berlin, organized by Haus für Poesie in cooperation with Academy of Arts Berlin. Under the motto “no one is an island”, the festival will present contemporary poetry from around the world.

No one is an island: We all depend and rely on each other, whether we like it or not. This makes it urgent to find common ways of living, speaking, and understanding each other. Poetry can deeply connect us by reminding us of our shared humanity, transcending languages, creating resonances and forging communities.

At poesiefestival berlin, we will celebrate these poetic communities in readings, performances, poetry talks, workshops, and artistic interventions. We encourage everyone to make contact, share experiences and be touched by language, sound and the intensity that comes with finding ourselves in the words of others.

The festival will open with “Weltklang – Night of Poetry”, an immersive sound experience of international poetry. All poets will read in their original language; the audience can read along in German or English. This year, poets Arooj Aftab (PAK), Takako Arai (JAP), Radna Fabias (NL), Meena Kandasamy (IND), Zaffar Kunial (GB), and Julian Talamantez Brolaski (USA) will read and perform, among others.

The “Berlin Poetry Lecture 2023” will be held by Kim Hyesoon (KOR). She will reflect on personal trauma while considering the consequences of censorship for language in her talk, titled “Tongueless Mother Tongue.” In this talk, Hyesooon will also explore poetic intersections: between Is and Yous, between the living and the dead, between memories and dreams.

Over three nights, poets from Afghanistan, Botswana, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Syria, and Ukraine, among others, will explore violence, identities, and motherhood as poetic topics:

Writing Violence” will feature Afghan poet and activist Ramin Mazhar, Syrian poet Kholoud Charaf and German poet Yevgeniy Breyger reading their poems, among other poets. These haunting poems protest, plead, and explore the limits of what can be articulated in poetry.

In “Writing Identities”, U.S. poets Kemi Alabi, Jos Charles, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, and Eileen Myles seek a language for marginalized perspectives and experiences, radically shifting the boundaries of language by questioning its patterns and the inherent power attached to them.

In “Writing Motherhood”, poems by TJ Dema (BWA), Alice Notley (USA) and Athena Farrokhzad (SWE), among others, scrutinize the personal as well as the political ramifications of becoming and being a mother, and, at the same time, remaining an artist. Motherhood is political – per se!

On two evenings, Spoken Word artists from Angola, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany (among other countries) will question the political power of language. How much potential does the spoken word still have to shake things up, to initiate, to analyze critically, and think utopically?

In poetic interventions and poetry talks, Eileen Myles will join Alice Notley, Kemi Alabi will join Radna Fabias, and Polina Barskova will join Maria Stepanova, in conversations on the stage.

Furthermore, on the festival’s opening weekend, June 10 and 11, 40 poets will read from their works in the Academy's beautiful Buchengarten. On June 11, 45 independent publishers will present new poetry at the poetry market.

Poetic Education will offer an extensive program with activities for all ages: training for poetry teachers, workshops for school classes, readings of young writers’ poetry, laughing yoga, and so much more. In addition, we will celebrate the award ceremonies of Germany’s national young people’s poetry competition, Lyrix, as well as hosting a reading and award ceremony for the British Council’s writing competition, “We have everything we need”.         

Fans of poetry can dip their toes in the festival ahead of time at “Poets' Corner – Poetry in the Districts”. From June 4th to June 8th, Berlin-based poets will take the stage at eleven venues throughout the city.

poesiefestival berlin has taken place since 2000 and is the largest poetry festival of its kind in Europe. Every year, it gathers 150 renowned poets and artists from all over the world to Berlin.

poesiefestival berlin is a project of Haus für Poesie in cooperation with Academy of Arts Berlin, with support by Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital City Cultural Fund), and kindly supported by Deutscher Literaturfonds e.V. (German Literature Fund) as part of the “Neustart Kultur” program of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Presented by BÜCHERmagazin, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, EXBERLINER, Literaturport, radioeins, rausgegangen, taz, and tip Berlin.