This year’s festival runs under the motto “all that poetry” and presents works from a diverse range of international contemporary poets. An annual event, it accentuates social relevance of poetic art through readings, performances, discussions, exhibitions, workshops, and artistic interventions.
Photo by: Ancestors of the bloon moon, Himali Singh Soin
The program is packed with many exciting events. Even for those of us who are not avid poetry readers or writers, when you see it, you can’t but be amused. Preceding the festival itself, which opens on the 17th, there are a series of events taking place in each Berlin district, called Poetry in the Districts, with Berlin-based poets and musicians reading and performing in libraries, gardens, and cultural venues in various parts of town.
The festival itself traditionally opens with the Weltklang, a multilingual sound experience of international poetry, with poems read by authors in their original language. The festival’s opening address this year is given by Michèle Métail, in which she walks through her own work history, in the style of Berlin flaneurs (a magazine focusing on one street per issue).
There are many readings, of course. On Sunday, there’s a book market, selling poetry and journals, with poets and translators reading at the market. On Monday, music, readings, and talks take place at the Poets’ Evening. In addition, there are other quirky events to engage in, such as poetic walking mediation and haiku workshop.
Photo by: As Grand as what, by Himali Singh Soin
Photo by: AS Grand as what, Himali Singh Soin
On the festival’s agenda are also several fascinating exhibitions. One by RambaZamba Studio, titled The Nature That Makes Me II (free entry) is where teams of poets and artists from the studio group with physical, psychological, and mental disabilities embark on a search for the origins of poetry and art. AI Ancestors – Making Kin in the Future explores alliances between species. As Grand as What reimagines the structure of the Kalachakra mandala, a geomantic diagram in which the body, the city, the earth, and the universe mirror each other in a grand cosmic architecture. At Echoes from the Future artist Rike Scheffler performs sensual poems from a possible future.
Worth noting is the translators’ battle. This year’s reVERSible translation workshop will feature poetry from former Yugoslavia. Eight poets from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia will meet eight German-speaking poets and translate one another’s poems for three days. On the evening of the 21st, the 16 poets will present the outcomes of their poetic collaborations.
The 23rd Poetry Festival takes place at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg. Full program can be found on the festival’s website.
Photo by: Himali Singh Soin und David Soin Tappeser scaled