31 December 2010

i, coleoptile

yesterday, i was quite surprised to find in my mailbox a copy of i, coleoptile, ann cotten's new book published by broken dimanche press. it's got interesting black and white photography by kerstin cmelka in it, and, slightly more importantly, ann's poetry. i can't read all this now, but it looks like i'd like it, and i already wonder who enzo is (again: no time to ponder, remember, guess). my favorite line: and so i felt like jelly, like / I had been here before. let's hope i'll get around to writing a proper review sometime.

the people at the residenz verlag, who were kind enough to provide me with a copy of ulrich ladurner's eine nacht in kabul last september already (yes, i have been INTERESTED in this book!), still haven't gotten theirs. but i haven't forgotten about it, and at least i can mention here now that i like the author's dedication to alle, die den krieg nicht hinnehmen.

thank you for remaining patient and have a great 2011!

28 December 2010

thien, you will be missed!

photo source
i am so very sad to announce that thien tran died on 16 december 2010 in paris, in what was a rumored suicide. there's also an official statement from his publisher j. frank.

19 December 2010

i recommend: mascha kaléko

die klappentexterin asked me for a book recommendation for her readers, and i suggested this. unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available in english translation anywhere (is this really possible?), but there are two of her poems on her EN wikipedia in any case.

06 December 2010

i'll be reading @ parlandopark

parlandopark is a new series of events. this is their official newsletter or something. please note that i'll be reading with berlin's poetry kings and queens monika rinck, steffen popp, hendrik jackson, nora bossong, johannes hupp und christian filips. this is a FREE EVENT, there is NO COVER CHARGE.

Parlandopark - Texte Filme Fluchtpunkte

Parlando meint nicht das Geschwätz, das uns täglich begleitet, vielmehr ein dem Sprechgesang ähnliches, schnelles Singen unter genauer Beachtung des Rhythmus. Parlandopark ist unser Tarnname für Revue & Revolte, einen Ort für lyrische Eskapaden und kritische Anwürfe, ein Büro für Kritik, death by Power point, Pudel auf Brühschlitten. Gesucht werden: Begriffe, Texte, Bilder – Fluchtpunkte inmitten der Verödung des Prenzlauer Bergs, der grassierenden Vermarktungen, Verquarkungen und Zurichtungen.

Am 12. Dezember 2010 20:00 Uhr findet die Pilot-Party zu einer zukünftigen Lese- und Debattenreihe statt, die ab dem neuen Jahr einen Ort haben wird:
Der Parlandopark im Soupanova.

Es lesen: Monika Rinck, Steffen Popp, Hendrik Jackson, Annina Luzie Schmid, Nora Bossong, Johannes Hupp und Christian Filips.

Soupanova, Stargarder Straße 24, ab 20 Uhr, Eintritt frei!


 Ab 2011 werden dort JEDEN SONNTAG Adrijana Bohocki, Steffen Popp, Simone Kornappel und Hendrik Jackson offene Abende moderieren

9.1. Pudel auf Brühschlitten Der Lyriker Steffen Popp stellt alte Bücher und schlechte sowie geniale Gedichte vor, danach offene Runde. Steffen Popp und Hendrik Jackson moderieren.

16.1.  Death by Powerpoint Simone Kornappel (Lyrikerin, randnummer-Herausgeberin) stellt Texte und Kunst vor. Voraussichtlicher Gast: Norbert Lange, danach: offene Runde

23.1. Revue & Revolte Adrijana Bohocki (ehem. lauter niemand) lädt zur offenen Runde: Jeder ist eingeladen eigene Texte (evt. mit Kopien), Kurzfilme, Bilder und Fotografien (auf CD) vorzustellen und vom Publikum diskutieren zu lassen. Gern mit Anmeldung per Nachricht an parlandopark@web.de oder über facebook.

30.1. Büro für Kritik Hendrik Jackson (Lyriker, Herausgeber von lyrikkritik.de) quält mit der Kritik "Sodom und Ghomorra" oder lobt in den Himmel mit Kritik "Honigzunge"!
Special guest voraussichtlich: der Pasolini-Übersetzer Christian Filips.

16 November 2010

sten nadolny liest in tempelhof

und zwar am 21.11.2010 bei tempelhof liest. auch noch da: sibylle lewitscharoff, thomas pletzinger und andere.

15 November 2010

eine kurzgeschichte schreiben

zu meiner überraschung fand ich im neuen missy magazine eine knappe, aber durchaus brauchbare anleitung zum schreiben einer kurzgeschichte. verfasst hat diese karla schmidt, von der ich zwar noch nie gehört habe, die aber laut vita durchaus weiss, was sie da tat. falls jemand also noch den letzten arschtritt für die teilnahme beim nächsten MDR literaturpreis braucht - vielleicht hilft die lektüre ja? einsendeschluss dort ist der 11. januar 2011. äh, der 31. januar, sehe ich gerade.

06 November 2010

egorithmus

reisende soll man ich kann dich nicht aufhalten
will dich nicht umkehren gibt es den wert eines
menschen in art aller menschen mit denen er
schläft als die not der realen maschine was ratterst
du denkst du denn dass du verlassener machst als
du selbst je verlassen warst ach wenn du weg

wanderst denk doch ich habe das gehen geübt das 
gelassen ich habe mit abschied in reinform die 
treueste freundschaft geschlossen da musst du schon
mehr leisten grosses wie wär eine spontane wiederkehr? 
ach wird bis dann noch viel schlaf meinen schnarch 
runterrasseln und schnauf aus dem herz emporgehn 
wirst du als reisender nach deiner weltfahrt das hier 
wollen mich wollen alles verklären und wie früher sehn

23 October 2010

gerade von unter der glocke gekrochen auch du
aus dem hafenschlamm also dem dreck der den
hafen beendet ich hab dich da aufgeschnappt und
deine fossile seele ins heute gewendet ins morgen
gepaeck umgehoben ins meine verkehrt aeh veraendert
ein gloeckchen aus glas das erhitzt und geblasen mir hast 

also angelegt du... habe seeroeschen rot auf dem
teich gesehn blaettchen und blueten gib acht habe

lieder gesungen nicht lieder gesungen nicht fast.

13 October 2010

A N D O S I N A

remember Andosina, that novella i wrote back in 2008? well, it's finally available in german.

wer mag, kann hier für 2 € eine PDF-datei erwerben.

zum inhalt: andorra, london, geissen, lurche, liebe, frauen, männer.

oder in oliver bottinis worten: "Wenn das Leben im vierzehnten Stock nur ein wenig einfacher wäre. Aber da sind die Sehnsucht, die Einsamkeit, und der Traum von einem zweiten Leben in Andorra."

29 September 2010

can writing schools close market gaps?

DIE ZEIT has an interview with josef haslinger who is both the managing director of the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig and also a writer. in that interview he claims that professionally training authors in writing schools like his own is closing a quality gap in german literature. and better yet, he blames us individuals and for-profit literary magazines for not educating younger writers better - in our free time, of course:

"Durch den Niedergang der Gruppen und die Professionalisierung der Zeitschriften, es gibt ja fast keine Autorenzeitschriften mehr, ist eben die Notwendigkeit entstanden, solche Schulen zu haben, in denen Autoren literarische Erfahrungen sammeln können."

i think he purposely ignores economic realities here. people need to go to work these days, unlike in the seventies, when hanging out in smoke filled uni corners was hip. there is not enough governmental funding for literary endeavours. yadda yadda. i'm boring myself with the perpetual sermon of a self-sustaining literary system, no courage to try new things and the ongoing homogenization professionalization of writing styles. he can tell me about his students' striving for originality all he wants - they voluntarily entered an institution whose aim it is to prepare them for a literary market that resorts to celebrating people like helene hegemann for originality. good for her, i guess, that at least she never attended a factory school like that. in any case, a better title for this post would have been "writing schools must close market gaps or else they'll be shut".

25 September 2010

alistair noon, ulrich ladurner, and the murakami collective

alistair noon has a reading coming up at this year's poetry hearings kick-off event:

    fri, 24 september, 19:30, direktorenhaus, am krögel 2, 10197 berlin, € 5,00

ulrich ladurner will be reading from his book Eine Nacht in Kabul (residenz verlag):

    wed, 29 september, 19:00, martin-gropius-bau, niederkirchnerstr. 7, 10963 berlin, € ?

i'll write a review of that book, so i'll do my best to attend that one.

and last but not least: some friends of mine started a blog project entitled reading murakami.

20 September 2010

no more anonymous comments

i'm sorry to announce that as of now, anonymous comments are no longer possible on WOAW. this is long common on other blogs and down to all the spam i've been receiving lately. please keep participating though. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

18 September 2010

strohfeuer

last night i attended my first literary event in forever (after an unsuccessful try on thursday, when we had originally planned to visit the literaturwerkstatt for the klagenfurt-nachlese but spontaneously decided to go for dinner instead): sascha lobo's premiere reading of his novel Strohfeuer. at a whopping 8€, cover charge wasn't cheap for all those who had missed the chance of getting free admission via sascha's twitter, and you know i get very displeased when unhappy with prices. and now comes the but: sascha's reading was one of the most entertaining and diverting i had been to in a long time. in spite of lots of funny car content, which i thought to be the new cat content - or as kathrin put it, cat content for men - and in spite of frequent mentions of hitler and piglets. the latter somewhat reminded me of toni mahoni's recent book Gebratene Störche, but that must have been a coincidence, since toni's book came out only in february of this year and so Sascha couldn't have known, as his should have already been in print at that time. other comparisons included beigbeder's 39,90 - that i remember from working at hugendubel in frankfurt am main, checking out over and over in the fall and winter of 2001. "just a similar topic", in sascha's eyes, and anyways, he couldn't have written his book ten years ago, he first needed some personal distance from the business and bubble and all. and while strohfeuer certainly hasn't reinvented the literary wheel, the excerpts that freshly dyed sascha read were well-written and fun to listen to. rumor has it the first chaper is weak, though, so when at the book store: just skip it. ;)

14 September 2010

räumen [spacing]

mein kopf ist ein halbmond
aus schuhen aus schminke
manchmal meinen kleidern
verwaschen ich habe zwei
stapel geladen zwei seelen
die taschen mein kopf ist ein
gläserberg wirklich aus lampen
ikea ist nichts im vergleich 
zu den räumen in mir meinem tisch 
der ein bruder des kaktus ist 
alles okay im kopf hört ihr 
sist alles okay in mir drin weil:
kein abschied wird je gut genug.


[rough translation:

spacing

my head is a half moon
of shoes and of make-up
of clothes sometimes washy
i loaded two piles right two
souls and the bags so my head
is a mountain of glass oh yeah
lamps and ikea has nothing
on what is inside me my table
who's one of my cactus's brothers
i'm fine in my head can you hear
me i'm fine for no parting will
be good enough.

28 August 2010

MISS READ: september 3 to 5, 2010

"For the second time MISS READ has invited international publishers and artists to show their artist books at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. As a genre of its own, the artist book reflects contemporary ways of artistic production and publishing to a great extent and also addresses issues of presentation and circulation as well as new strategies of distribution. Presenting a selection of more than 40 of the most active contributors in this field, the festival provides the rare opportunity to encounter and explore the contemporary scene of independent publishing."


more info & program me over at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

27 August 2010

headline poetry

headline poetry displays poems sampled from headlines of german newspaper sueddeutsche zeitung. via lyrikmail.

21 August 2010

almost missed the bad poetry day

adolescent poetry at its worst best at the frisky, a women's magazine i would probably ban in my kingdom.

12 August 2010


07 August 2010

poem for a dead person

the years of billions before you have
unended where your hand let go
the linen white i think like everyone's -
you were the deadest glazed and air
at once you dandered out the door a smile
for billions of you before the years ahead
there's so much more to come (i'm thinking
endless silent laughter) than we had -


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[rough translation:

für eine tote person

die jahre milliarden vor dir entendeten
als deine hand das laken ließ
weiß glaub ich wie das von allen anderen -
du warst der toteste ganz glatt und luft
und plötzlich schlendertest du aus der tür
ein lächeln für die milliarden dus die jahre zukunft
möglich dass noch viel mehr kommt (ich denke
unendliches stilles lachen) als wir hatten ]

the most commonly misspelt word in the english language

is 'seperate' 'separate', followed by 'definitely'. the british telegraph has a complete list of the top 20.

31 July 2010

troglodyten [troglodytes] - written last fall

so streiche die schattenmorellen zurück in den busch
weich die stiele die blätter noch regenfeucht und nicht
ein einziger feuerstein für vor die höhle man singt sich
zu zweit in den schlaf übt die wandmalereien die speere
das schaf das den speeren entkommt . man hat sich 
verlaufen im eigenen tal aber wie das erklären -
da war keine fackel gesteckt da gab es nicht spuren von
bären nur vor allen wänden den funken nachsehen sie suchen
die muster in die sie sich wenden . wo wuchs diese 
plötzliche höhle und aus wessen händen glimmt licht / 



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[rough translation:

troglodytes

so push the morellos back into the bush soft
the pedicals moist of the rain still the leaves and
not one single flint stone to rub by the cave and
one sings one another to sleep drawing murals
the spears and the sheep that outrun them . one loses 
her way in her very own valley but how to explain that -
there was no torch and no traces of bears just
the standing in front of those walls watching sparks
going up in a turning of ornaments . where did that cave
grow so suddenly out of whose hands glows that light /   ]

29 July 2010


28 July 2010

last night i ran into the bunch of students who are behind litaffin. they were really nice.

in an unrelated story, this morning i came across an article written in april that recommends berlins best three literaturcafes.

25 July 2010

ever wished for a book cover archive?

today is your lucky day: http://bookcoverarchive.com/ - a great resource for designers, too.

24 July 2010

Wär ich ein Buch (1973)


Via Sandra Uschtrin, who edits the most useful newsletter I have ever signed up for.

22 July 2010

i blog, therefore i am

on 10 july 2010, i was speaking to a bunch of very clever FU students. the day's topic was narrative identity, so besides technical issues like how does a blog work and what is it good for, we also touched upon topics like does blogging help or hinder my writing and whether i am aiming at constructing a certain online image of myself, and if so why. i had prepared a little introduction and a couple of questions i was going to ask (like how many of you blog yourselves?) but didn't, because i forgot. so i had absolutely no idea about their previous social media knowledge and was constantly worried someone would fall from her chair, bored to death and all sweaty, as it was really hot that day. but as far as i could tell, christoph ribbat, one of the other two invited speakers, was the only one who fell asleep. into some microsleep maybe, but still, he was silently snoring right into my face. okay, i thought, this is it, you're in asia and that's how it goes here, no face-loss, it will never matter. i really liked christoph and his talk on alison bechdel's graphic novel 'fun home' and i think he got along with me okay, too, so i thought, well, let the man rest and hoped no-one would notice. and the students seemed with it, my talk i mean, which was the main thing. after i had finished, they had a long list of questions which i found interesting to answer, and i got very nice e-mail feedback: kerri drew me, complete with tattoo and necklace, and fredi left an encouraging comment. thank you for having me, i'd come back any time!

johann reißer was added to lyrikwelt.de

view his profile - including some work samples - here.

11 July 2010

i was asked to promote this

tuesday night, hanna lemke will be reading stories from her new book 'Gesichertes' (reviews here):

tue, 13 july 2010, 8 pm, ballhaus ost, pappelallee 15, berlin - prenzlauer berg, 3 €

09 July 2010

me talking at the FU tomorrow:


please find more information on the symposium here.

29 June 2010

my poem 'verkippung' on fixpoetry.com

robert monat interpreted and discussed my poem verkippung on fixpoetry. thanks for that, robert!

24 June 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

20 June 2010

feldforschung [field work]

erwachen wegen radikalen
sonnenscheins. im traum du
der lichtpunkt (heimatort: - )
als kern einer seitenlang
endlosen welt und ich perle
als schmuck ab die fällt und
am boden singt nach mir ein
seltenes echo die dielen entlang
bis ein loch seinen rachen aufhält.
ich schenke mich her (dich: - )
auch ohne versteckte bedingung.




[rough translation:

awakening due to radical
sunshine. dreaming you are
the light spot (native place: - )
as core of an endlessly
page filling world and i roll off 
as one falling pearl and a very
rare echo sings after me along
the floors until some hole 
rips open its fauces. 
i'm giving myself away (you: - )
without hidden conditions as well.]

18 June 2010

Congratulations!

I'd like to congratulate the jury of the Gernhardt-Förderpreis on giving at least half of their money to the very talented Martin Andreas Widmann, who was a participant of the Klagenfurter Literaturkurs I wrote about for FM4 in 2008. The other half of the Gernhardt price, 12.000€, received already famous author Peter Kurzeck.

09 June 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

08 June 2010

katharina schultens über die geschlechter in ihrer lyrik

rasch hingeworfen etwas zur geschlechterproblematik 'in der lyrik' oder zumindest in meiner, in reaktion auf die frage von annina:

0. VORBMERKUNG: 2006 lasen ein freund und ich in einem hildesheimer lyrikseminar mit recht lyrikunkundigen erstsemestern (=letzter kontakt oberstufentrakl) die damals neueren texte (rinck, scho, falb, kuhligk, wagner, jackson, utler,.... etc pp). ganz zu beginn quer ausgewähltes, bewußt ambivalente texte, ohne den/die autor/in zu benennen - probehalber baten wir das seminar zu sortieren, ob der text jeweils von einem mann oder einer frau geschrieben worden sei. trefferquote 90%, würde ich sagen. these: es gibt auch in der lyrik nur wenige, denen man ihr geschlecht nicht an- bzw abliest - das sind übrigens oft die wirklich guten unter uns - und die wiederum sind dann meist so eigen, daß man sie anderweitig erkennt, ton eben.

ums zu personalisieren, denn mich hat das schon unfreiwillig umgetrieben: mir ist mehrfach unterstellt worden, ich beschäftige mich mit 'der geschlechterproblematik'. jetzt von den sachen bis ca 2005 mal abgesehen - diese bitte ausklammern, auch gerade die im artikel verlinkten, die teils von 1998 stammen - war das schlimm für mich insofern, als daß ich spätestens seit meinem studienjahr in den staaten echtes beef etwa mit der feministischen und postfeministischen literatur hatte, die wir dort exzessiv lasen. die bella dann schrieb anlässlich der veröffentlichung von 2006er texten gar etwas über die "beleuchtung des unbehagens der geschlechter" - was vielleicht noch immer nicht falsch war, damals, mich aber latent genervt hat, da mir das, so banal meine sachen manchmal sein mögen, doch zu sehr verflacht.

(dabei muß man manchmal nur einen noch zu deutlich erkennbaren impetus im überarbeitungsprozeß loswerden, und schon ist nichts mehr fix, der text offen in ganz andere richtungen. das nebenbei.)

ich sehe übrigens auch mit schrecken etwaigen (so welche zustande kommen) kritiken zum kommenden buch entgegen, da ich ahne, in welche ecke gerade die herren rezensenten das im zweifel packen könnten, es gibt ja nur zwei: mädchendings und emanzenschranze - und ich meine bzw will in meinen sachen mittlerweile etwas ganz anderes unternehmen, eigentlich nämlich, wenn ich in vielem schon nicht drumherum zu kommen scheine, unterschiedliche herangehensweisen testen - schlagworte:

1. MINNE: klar, texte ÜBER jungs, so wie jungs umgekehrt reihenweise seit jahrhunderten mädchenminne schreiben dürfen - und es eben auch so etwas wie eine jungsschönheit gibt. die aber meist nur von älteren herren beschrieben (von norbert bisky gemalt...) wird, ich kenne wenig ätherisches über jungs, das nicht in den kitsch rutscht - und auch aus dem manuskript hat mir ein freundlich gesinnter lektor jetzt den einzig wirklich geschwärmten jungstext eliminiert, obgleich über mädchen teils weitaus grenzwertigeres veröffentlicht und gelesen wird. nunja. [disclaimer: ich spreche von 'jungs' und 'mädchen' ganz bewußt, nicht von männern und frauen. auch das ist ein symptom.]

2. MASKEN: texte, die das konzept rollenprosa ins lyrische zu übersetzen suchen, vielleicht, per tonfall. da war und ist perspektivwechsel insofern schwierig, als daß es oft bösartig seitliche imitation wird - und die dann in etwas intimeres zu überführen, ohne versehentlich reine parodie zu fahren oder doch umzuschlagen, hmm. woher weiß man denn, will man denn wissen, etc. auch ist mir noch unklar, wie viel einzeltypisierung (inkl. pars pro toto) und wie viel verallgemeinerung - = eine haltung (oder besser: geste?), die ja nicht geschlechtsspezifisch sein muß, auch generation sein kann, siehe symptomatik - anteilig enthalten sind und wie ich das trennscharf kriege. kriegen sollte. daran laboriere ich grad in der überarbeitung des manuskripts, zumal mir diese aufteilungsoption erst vor kurzem klar (gemacht) wurde.

3. GESTEN (prozessual gedacht): hier hab ich den begriff noch nicht, den ich bräuchte - generell gehts da ineinander über. denn das sind dann eher texte, die konzeptionell und auch in der methodik an einem thinking at the edge kratzen, das, was ich unter "bewußtseinsprotokoll" treffend subsumiert finde - da löst sich es auf, aber selbst da tauchen eben die masken von oben wieder auf und ein, denn die legen wir ja im traum bzw. am rand auch nicht ab (zwiebelschalen). improvisierte räume sind das - oft -, temporäre behausung, zelte auf dem kompromiss.

vielleicht geht es mir insgesamt bloß um sprechhaltungen, bzw ob und wie man die überhaupt beanspruchen, einnehmen kann - unterlaufen wäre schon anmaßend?

[disclaimer nr. 2: nicht, daß dieser schnelle versuch mir nun als poetik ausgelegt wird, bitte, dafür ist er zu flach gedacht. es gibt eine antizipierende und nur von einem diplomkomittee je gelesene poetik von 2005/06, die noch extrem von mädchenemphase getragen wird, aber den ausstehenden prozeß schon ganz gut voraussieht, klärung schon vorweg nimmt, ein text, an den ich mal ran müsste - merkwürdig insofern, als daß vieles projeziert wird, das erst mit verspätung dann in texten auftaucht, jahre später - ]

jedenfalls: großen dank an annina für den anstoß, den ich brauchte, um dann doch einmal grobzusortieren.

(ps: gierstabil, im übrigen, ist kein neologismus, sondern ein begriff aus der nautik.) 



© dieser text wurde im juni 2010 von katharina schultens für WOAW verfasst. ich bedanke mich herzlich.

07 June 2010

poets' corner: neukölln

da ich in eile bin, gibt es den kommentar zur neuköllner poets' corner lesung der literaturwerkstatt heute ausnahmsweise auf deutsch.

brigitte struzyk irritiert das publikum mit einer wilhelm busch adaption fürs theater neuköllner ghetto. ohren zu und durch.

benedikt wahner (leider habe ich keinen brauchbaren link zu ihm gefunden) hat feministische post-porn theorien studiert und macht uns die hilde domin: jedes gedicht wird zweimal gelesen, und zwar halb gesäuselt und halb gerappt. sein 'porn poem 102' ist ein mash-up aus britney's gimme more und dem meistgesehenen porno auf youporn, und dabei eher eine audio-installation als ein gedicht. alles schön und gut, der einzige wermutstropfen ist sein starker deutscher akzent, der das verständnis der von ihm verwendeten anglizismen erschwert. 

katharina schultens, die nach ihrer lesung gleich von elke erb für den poetenladen rekrutiert wurde, benutzt ebenfalls das ein- oder andere englische wort, wirkt dabei aber souveräner als ihr vorgänger. muss man gedichte allerdings wirklich in "mädchen- und jungstexte" teilen? werde ich sie mal fragen, wenn wir uns das nächste mal sehen. aus ihrem wespengedicht: "an welcher kreuzung werden wir uns ganz am end verheddern?" weitere leseproben gibt es hier.

nico bleutge las vollprofimäßig zum thema erinnerungen versus erfindungen. gut eingeleitete, solide texte. meiner meinung nach der erste dichter, der so gar nicht wie ein dichter aussieht.

philip maroldt (hier zum anlesen auf lyrikmail) war "im gangbangkanal von luxushotels gefangen" und wünschte sich terroranschläge in spandau. gefiel mir von allen am besten. weitere highlights waren die zeilen: "ich besitze alle talente, doch in der mitte meines lebens bin ich in gefahr geraten" und die frage "wer legt einen bypass für gott?"

birgit kreipes arbeiten mochte ich auch sehr gerne, allen gedichten voran das über usedom, das es hier als drittes von oben zu lesen gibt. birgit steht ausserdem kurz vor ihrer ersten einzelveröffentlichung bei fixpoetry.com.

philipp webers gedichte sind im grunde auch sehr gut, klangen allerdings wie nicht mehr fertig - vielleicht zu häufig überarbeitet? highlights: "rückwärts leben, die sprache verneinen" und "das herz in fett eingelegt". eine kritik zu seinen arbeiten von hendrik jackson auf lyrikkritik.de.

catherine hales berührt das publikum mit 'driving through norfolk' und anderen arbeiten, die ich hier bereits zuvor besprochen habe. 

zuletzt liest schließlich tom bresemann, der zu meiner freude stets sein eigenes literarisches süppchen kocht. highlights: "den durchbruch abbrechen" und "auf das notwendige kann ich verzichten".

die besprochene lesung wurde von johann reißer kuratiert, der abgesehen davon, dass er über die gesamte veranstaltung hinweg neben den autoren am lesetisch sitzen blieb, einen wirklich guten job gemacht hat - gratulation zu einer gelungenen lesung in schöner atmosphäre im körnerpark.  

05 June 2010

the red big bag vs. the big red bag - how to order adjectives in english


even the teacher himself gets confused when he gives the example of 'the old boring physics teacher'. according to his own rules written on the board behind him, it would have to be 'the boring old physics teacher' - at least that proves his claim that this clip might of interest for native speakers, too!

02 June 2010

so much for originality

it's funny: a while ago i wrote a prose piece that contained a sentence that went  

Es fährt ein Motorrad vorbei, dessen Dröhnen in dem eines Flugzeugs aufgeht. 

[a motorcycle passes, its roar merges into the roar of an airplane.]

today, in my lyrikmail, i found a poem by crauss that incorporates the same idea in its first two lines, only different

ein flugzeug über dem haus, das schnurgerade
geräusch eines mähers verirrt sich darin.


[an airplane over the house, dead striaght
the roar of a mower gets lost in.]

...guess we'll both need to come up with something a little more original next time?  

30 May 2010

"songs and poems - or sentences, as i call them" (m. donhauser)

last night i attended a great poetry reading at the literaturhaus berlin, the highlight of which was a reading by oswald egger, the first-ever winner of the recently awarded oskar pastior prize. that prize is a cool prize for two reasons: 1) in his lifetime, oskar pastior saved every penny for a foundation that was meant to financially support 2) experimental, innovative poets. oswald easily lived up to this criterion, as what he read fortright sounded like sylvia plath on LSD: "Ich igelte mich ein wie ein Iltisknauf", "so schopf-, so schädelblanke Felsen", "Ich sah durch die Toten nur Sonne und Knochen, nichts sonst". while oswald's imagery was richer than anything else i had heard in a long time, and while his recital was fantastic, i thought he did miss a timely ending. our minds spun in spite of his (sometimes probably unintendedly) humorous passages, so that following his verbal detours became increasingly difficult.

michael donhauser, who was second to read, had a better gut feeling there. his reading was to the point and sincere. like last time at the lyrikerempfang, it seemed he had dislocated the alphabet in order for it to become landscapes that recall own memories. (work sample.) 

franz josef czernin, who had been the first poet to read, struggled with turning the old idea of the four elements (that he chose to wrap in the old corset of the sonnet) into something modern. a highlight: "Mein Schauen ging (...) nicht verloren." thereafter, he presented his edits of three more poems in a slide show. this was very interesting to see at first, but i found that the novelty of the idea wore off quickly - probably because he had up to fifty slides to show for each poem; or maybe because he flicked through them so fast that even when you wanted to follow his wordplay, you couldn't.

my overall verdict: a worthwile, interesting reading.


29 May 2010

reading tonight: eggers, donhauser, czernin

at the literaturhaus berlin. 8 pm. more info here.

28 May 2010

german language difficult language - how is it that so few german novels get translated?

yesterday night i attend a panel discussion on the very broad topic of german translations at the literaturwerkstatt berlin. i'll do my best to give you a quick roundup here.

the discussants were katy derbyshire, who is a professional tranlsator, tilman rammstedt, who won the bachmannpreis 2008 and made this awesome video about his winning story Der Kaiser von China, helge malchow, who is the CEO at publishing house kiepenheuer & witsch (he brought along hist best mate maxim biller), and hans-ulrich treichel who is one of the three heads of the deutsche literaturinstitut leipzig (DLL) and a rather famous author in his own right. moderated by literary critic hubert winkels, who is part of the bachmannpreis 2010 jury, the panel tried to answer the question why so few german publications penetrate the international book market. this question was not answered, of course, but the discussion was still interesting to follow.

malchow explained that the cultural eradication and deprivation during and after the second world war might have caused a backlog with the german people that ultimately led to a great openness regarding all sorts of art and literature. after all, malchow estimated, 50% of KiWi's programme are made up of works written by foreign authors. if it's so easy for them to get published here, why are not half of all published books on foreign markets authored by germans?

certainly not because writers like rammstedt, whose novel has been translated into "six or seven" languages, come to the conclusion that, apart from accompanying commercial aspects, translations "aren't desirable". and probably not because as katy suggested, "german books that aren't about nazis or secret agents just don't interest foreign publishers". they aren't interested, because the limited horizon of our younger authors, as paraphrased by treichel, does not allow for what malchow was looking for in new voices, originality and life experience. (that's what they always say, isn't it, until someone like helene hegemann turns up!) "our authors come to DLL right from school", treichel said, "they shouldn't worry about the literary industry. and anyway, as yet not one newbie has come to me with the desire to be well-known internationally". wow, i thought, these are surprising points from someone dandling one of the largest cradles of german literary talent! only very few people my age that i know have something i would call a locally limited horizon, and most of us put great effort into building international careers. we are interested in many things, and - if i may say so - a far cry from the ethno-centric mindset that might have shaped the thinking of today's average sixty year old.

the assumptions that newer german literature has nothing say just cannot be true. instead, publishers' decisions are influenced by different factors, a kind that, sadly, my generation knows all too well: soft skills and networking! (at this point, bachmannpreis nominee dorothee elmiger taps me on the shoulder, asking whether she could take a look at my event programme? uhm, sure.)

often times translators themselves suggest books they like to their editors, making costly assessment reports redundant for publishers. or it is one particular book that opens a market, like umberto eco's The Name of the Rose that paved the way into the world market for other works of italian fiction.

today, even for internationally established german writers the going is rough: handke, for example, sells only 4.000 novels a year in the US, and these are likely to be the ones that belong to universities and public libraries, malchow assumes. he explains how it is next to impossible to establish accomplished younger writers like christian kracht overseas - not to mention newcomers.

treichel says he once heard people say a book needed to literally travel in order for it to become interesting for the international market (this made me think of crammed and dusty second hand traveller's book stores in south east asia), but we germans "aren't writing to entertain people", after all.

which brings right up the question that i have been asking myself all along: why is no one talking content? katy tried, of course - but has it never occurred to anyone that the world might just not be interested in our often sprawling, precocious content? is intellectualism un-dress up-able?

at least in the US, the number of european translations declines steadily. quite possibly, this has to do at least partly with the global tendency to buy, and thus publish, fewer books. readers nowadays are very likely to gather whatever they're interested in from the internet - aided by services like google books, initiatives like Bachmann Goes Europe and blogs like mine that target culturally interested people across borders (even though my content is berlin-heavy admittedly). also, we must not forget that while the US population is almost four times bigger than ours and therefore should haveat least the same quota of published writers we do, the US already in 2005 only published less than double the number of books than germany did in 2007 (source). [more evidence on my musings here.]

as you can see, the matter is complicated... and who's going to translate this article into german now?

27 May 2010

next reading: klagenfurt

as part of the supporting programme of the Tage der deutschsprachigen Literatur 2010, i'll be reading from my novella Andosina in klagenfurt on 25 june 2010. together with martin fritz who is partly responsible for the austrian text ohne reiter (or check out his twitter). i'm looking forward to this event and would love to see you there at 7.30 pm! more info on our reading here.

24 May 2010

now and then, a poem by billy collins

21 May 2010

17 May 2010

new to WOAW: Flattr !

this morning while sitting at the doctor's, i received my Flattr invite. i still mustn't type with my right hand, so please just watch the video above to find out what Flattr is all about. i think it's a fantastic service and hope many of you will appreciate the idea, sign up and share the love!


16 May 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

09 May 2010

WOAW @ Mädchenmannschaft

How could I miss the posting of my own WWW Girls interview over at the Mädchenmannschaft on 15 April 2010? Oh well. Thank you for having me, Helga!

(picture taken from postsecret.)

07 May 2010

once more with feeling

DIE ZEIT has an impressively well-written, albeit typically arrogant, reactive statement by helene hegemann (or here). let's hope the woman is seeing a capable therapist - her life seems a little too much.

06 May 2010

tenosynovitis

i have this, so i'm forced to take a break. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice. i mustn't type until further notice.

04 May 2010

new blog + reading

KOOKbook's jan böttcher and andreas töpfer have started their own blog.

if you're free thursday night, you might want to check out this reading. guests: martina hefter, johanna straub, serhij zhadan. music by jan böttcher.

8 pm, kvartira 62, lübbener str. 18, berlin - kreuzberg, 3 €

28 April 2010

studie

gut ich habe ein pony pferd aufgezäumt
das am holzstand wie hiess der noch gleich
auf mich wartete habe es angefasst um völlig
sicherzugehen dass es war was es war und
ich habe das pferd zebra in einzelnen linien
vor mir gesehen es war ein gerastertes tier
und sein schweif war geknotet an den eines
anderen zebras esels der aus einem ohr
zu mir sprach und da wusste ich wie rum der
sattel gehörte und legte ihn neben ihn hin.

27 April 2010

(picture taken from picturesofwalls)

26 April 2010

post aus südost

Post aus Südost is an interesting new project: an online magazine for poetry from southeast europe both in its original language and in german. the first issue still reads like a student newspaper (see this simple, but touching poem), but who knows what might become of it later. plus, one can never have enough online poetry, right?

25 April 2010

Andosina


remember the novella i was editing last summer? well, after sixteen edits altogether, it's finally finished [UPDATE: and available here].

it's in german and prose-y, and it's called Andosina.

with forty-eight norm pages, however, the manuscript's length (or brevity, rather) just won't make it an ordinary novel...

so my question is: does anyone know anyone who could be interested in publishing the story in spite of its unusual format? i'd be super grateful for ideas (!) and would love to send out excerpts...

anyone? please?

24 April 2010

short notice: lauter niemand magazine launch tonight

this evening, lauter niemand hosts a launch party for the edition i'm featured in (#10). there will be readings and drinks. more info here or on facebook. come by if you can.

8 pm, fehrbelliner str. 6, berlin - prenzlauer berg, 5 €

22 April 2010

'i want to change my novel to present tense. is there some microsoft word thing to do that?' (tao lin)

DIE ZEIT has a very interesting article on literature and the internet called Hyperlinks sind out.

21 April 2010

wo die zeit hingeht

in deine arme. in die kraft die
unsre haare zieht und unsre
köpfe in der amazonaswelt
fest über wasser hält. ins freisein.
nimmt uns an die hand. wir sind
das weite unentdeckte land. das
haus am uferrand in das das
leben jedes jahr im sommer flieht.
sie geht ins gleichgewichtsgefühl
des schmetterlings der vor dem
fenster achterrunden zieht.
vergeht ins bleiben. alles ist ein
teil von allen teilen. zeit wird du
und ich im urwald hängend eines
abends zwischen nassen blättern
schwingend an den seilen.


19 April 2010

(picture taken from picturesofwalls.)

18 April 2010

ancient poetry blog (anno 2006)

here.

15 April 2010

'a drifting cloud is just a drifting cloud'

in front of an audience of about forty people, catherine hales launched her poetry collection 'hazard or fall' at cosy café hilde yesterday night [see this post], and i thought her reading was very satisfactory: not too long, not too short, neither boring nor incomprehensible (although reading somewhat slower would have helped). i like catherine's rather prosaic style, it just makes enjoying her poems so much easier - especially when they were put into context through little personal anecdotes: knowing, for example, that as a kid catherine wanted to become an archaeologist, sheds a whole new light on her work, too.

highlights:
'it's when you part your lips that the problems begin'
'our lives crossed like the shadow of a bird in flight' 
'why have a thousand gods when one is one too many?'
'the creatures crawl into their caves, expire'

13 April 2010

"singularität ist [...] auch ein irrtum"

ron winkler answered a couple of questions about his new poetry collection Frenetische Stille at fixpoetry.com.

12 April 2010

two top literary events in berlin this wednesday

this event !!! HAS BEEN POSTPONED !!! is particularly interesting, as it addresses an important topic: how much religion is good for our kids? helge nyncke, the illustrator of "Wo bitte geht's zu Gott?", will be reading from the book that the German Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women & Youth tried to index because of its critical engagement with religion (but didn't succeed! check this brief spiegel article), and also from „Susi Neunmalklug erklärt die Evolution“. 
instead there will be some discussion about the future of the catholic church. no reading now!!!
14 april 2010, 6.30 pm, club der volkssolidarität, torstr. 203 -205, 10115 berlin - prenzlauer berg

WORTHY ALTERNATIVE --> catherine hales will be launching her new poetry collection 'hazard or fall' at café hilde. i got a little sneak peak of her work the other day and can assure you that, if you like english poetry, you will enjoy this event. try gistsandpiths for some samples of her work. plus, from what i can tell, two thirds of the berlin poetry scene will assemble there.
wed, 14 april 2010, 7.30 pm, café hilde, metzer str. 22, 10405 berlin - prenzlauer berg

10 April 2010

#fail

i was meaning to attend the danaghie & co poetry reading last night so that i could write about it here, but the restaurant took forever to prepare our food (just around the corner! we sat down at 8 pm!) and when we got to the location at 9.30 pm it was packed and there was no way to get in without interrupting. [phew, that was a long sentence!] so i just waved hi to kim through the window and buggered off... what a shame, sorry joseph!

short notice: event in berlin tonight

the lettrétage hosts swiss poet pietro montorfani tonight. an actor will be reading from his work. 5€ cover charge, start 7.30 pm. more info here.

08 April 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

06 April 2010

three literary events in berlin this week

wed, 07 april 2010, 8.30 pm, st. george's bookshop, woerther str. 27, 10405 berlin - prenzlauer berg, free!
great idea: monthly read-around! more info here.

thu, 08 april 2010, 8 pm, literaturwerkstatt, knaackstr. 97, 10435 berlin - prenzlauer berg, 5€
john mateer and jan wagner. poetry reading in english and german. more info here

fri, 09 april 2010, 9 pm, cafe 'alice gryphius', gryphiusstr. 10, 10245 berlin - friedrichshain, free!
gunter scholtz, gerhard schneibel & joseph danaghie. poetry reading in english and german.

02 April 2010

happy easter, everyone!

(picture taken in peru by ariane, who is sailing the world on suleika.)

01 April 2010

twitter preview on WOAW

as you might have already noticed, i've added a twitter widget to the blog's sidebar. if WOAW loads a little slower on your browser now, that's the reason. the idea was to keep you up to date with thoughts and news that never become blog posts even if you aren't on twitter yourselves. if you are on twitter already, but too lazy to check back on my page every day, this feature might be of use to you, too. i also plan to update the sidebar altogether some time later this year, sort through the link list, add blogs like ron winkler's, that kind of stuff. don't worry if WOAW looks a little different from time to time, i'll be sure to let you know when i'm done...

30 March 2010

three events in berlin and toronto this week

in BERLIN, there are two readings this week: there's another interesting KOOKread event on

thu, 01 april 2010, 8 pm, kvartira no. 62, lübbener str. 18, 10997 berlin - kreuzberg, ?€

annika scheffel, björn kern and ron winkler will be introducing their new books. more info here.

and then there's philip sington reading from his recent novel "The Einstein Girl" at st. george's bookshop in prenzlauer berg.

wed, 31 march 2010, 9 pm, st. george's bookshop, woerther str. 27, 10405 berlin, no cover charge.

 
in TORONTO the BARRACUDA anthology celebrates its launch. (a cool writers-in-school program, more info here!) 

wed, 31 march 2010, 7 - 9 pm, gardiner museum, 11 queens park, toronto (ontario), no cover charge.

29 March 2010

i'm in the new lauter niemand

in my mail today i received three voucher copies of the current lauter niemand 10th anniversary edition. i've been featured with a long poem i wrote in 2007 called "tanz aus narkose", alongside people like johann reißer and monika rinck.

i dug out the last paragraph of an older version of that poem for you:

ich in tüll laken lackkleid nag am fensterrahmen bricht licht in triangelstrahlen staub wendet sich blendet und ich urban es urbakterium will unter wasser ober flächen molekül sein mir von dir mit spitzen lippen zeigen lassen wie die fische machen algen mähen zwischen heiligen korallen mit dir fieberpirouetten drehen in tiefsee kissengraben sinken auferstehen als dampf noch einmal durch die nacht als regen wieder niedergehen...

[very, very roughly, this could be something like:

i in tulle sheets varnish dress gnaw on the window frame breaks light in triangle rays dust turns blinds and i urban it ur-bacterium wanna be under water over surface molecule wanna be taught by you with lips pursed how the fish make mow algae inbetween holy corals dance fever pirouettes with you sink into deep sea pillow trenches resurge through the night once more as steam once more as rain alight...]

28 March 2010

one of last year's poems reworked

wir haben ein sternbild gesehen:
da endet die welt und die faust die
die kabel an die unser leben gerät
hält ist männlich . man war
fünfmarkstückgroß in eine wand
genagt für ratten die leitung
um leitung gekannt hatten abfall
als kunst in die sphären gehoben .
weit hinten verriet uns ein unruhiges
mädchen geheimnisse über das irdischsein .


[rough translation:

we'd seen a constellation:
there ends the world and the fist
that's been holding the cables that 
sustain our lives has been male . 
one was a hole chewed into some wall
five deutschmarks wide for rats
who knew the wires praised all 
rubbish into highest spheres .
at the very back an anxious girl
gave away secrets on being terrestrial .]


27 March 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

26 March 2010

two readings, one review, and my big mouth

this week, i went to two readings: alistair's and peter's, and the one alexander gumz organised for the launch of his and moritz schramm's ny tysk poesi anthology (arena verlag, kopenhagen, 2009). both were good events and sold out deservedly so.

dialogue berlin provided a great venue, and its owner sharmaine was a great hostess - i'm sure we'll be hearing much more about her events and initiatives soon. i always enjoy literary events in english, as the authors and audience tend to not take themselves as seriously as most germans: a little more fun, a little less intellectual masturbation... which takes me right to the reading on wednesday:

like i said before, the line-up was impressive - and its proximity to KOOKbooks undeniable. one gets the impression that alexander gumz has a couple of people on his speed dial that he rings up whenever reading slots need to be filled. while this is understandable, i would have loved to hear people like raphael urweider or nico bleutge read for a change, poets that are also featured in the anthology, but that you don't hear of as much.

highlights of the reading included:

"oh, danke, nacht, geh heim nach finnland"  ["oh, thank you, night, go home to finland"] - steffen popp
"dein kanarienvogel sah heute so seltsam aus" ["your canary looked somewhat strange today"] - daniel falb
"schön wäre ein regen nach oben" ["i'd like an upward rain"] - ron winkler

free poetry reading in hamburg tomorrow

tom schulz, gerald fiebig, richard duraj, and jinn pogy will be reading to celebrate the brand new edition of randnummer magazine tomorrow:

sat, 27 march, 8 pm, POW galerie, haubachstr. 7a, hamburg - free of charge!

24 March 2010

HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY, WOAW!


WORDS ON A WATCH turns three today, and for me that means party introspection: how has the internet changed the way we writers work? as this is quite a complicated question, i'm glad sibylle berg has already answered it generally here, so i'll be ok to just speak for myself:

to me, the internet is

...a space to express myself in a myriad of ways, to get active and launch projects like the #50bookschallenge or girls can blog
...my very own trade fair - networking through facebook and twitter has never been easier than today. i've just started sorting the people i follow into lists, perhaps they're of use to you, too? 
...my mobile notebook-anthology-brain-hard drive-event calendar-desk-gallery. to me, the web is a very visual place that i like to hang out in
...a motivator to get things done. as is my readership. i think that if your number hadn't gone up steadily over time, i would have given up long ago
...an ideal place for feedback. both incoming (examples here, here, and there) and outgoing (like here by myself and here by guest commentator oliver bottini). i love feedback and guest articles, so please keep them coming!
...an ideal place for announcements, too, like here and here.*

basically, WOAW is still a personal poetry blog, thick with opinion. if you're here for my poems only and never know where to look for them, click here and save that link. the newest poem will always come first. watch out, though, not all of them are ready for press just yet; from time to time i put up stuff just because i was so glad i had written anything at all. my writing periods are usually intense, as is my current writer's block. i don't have control over either.

i was going to go into last year's WOAW birthday speech a little more, but when i just read it, it sounded awfully negative. i think i was in a pretty bad place then and am very glad that i could move on from there in the second half of 2009. i went on said literary journey to zagreb, spoke to an agent (only to find out my novella was too short for publication still), and got published in important media like lyrikmail. i wonder what 2010 has up its sleeve...

thanks in any case for sticking around!
annina

*it seems like i forgot to annouce that i got published in the current edition of [sic] magazine? oops!

23 March 2010

it's reading week

besides the poetry reading on wednesday i recommended yesterday, there's also sibylle lewitscharoff discussing adolph freiherr knigge's work in charlottenburg:  

wed, 24 march 2010, 8 pm, literaturhaus berlin - großer saal

more info at the literaturhaus berlin.

and for everyone who doesn't feel like going to alistair noon's poetry reading on thursday, try fadi saad in berlin - wedding. his reading will take place at the medienhof, a project i freelance with, and it was organised by the kids we teach; the cover charge is only 1 €, and money is generally appreciated there as funding is hard to find even for established organisations like this one. (more info on fadi's book at herder verlag. photo by rebecca @ DIE FREIE LANZE.)

thu, 25 march 2010, 6 pm, medienhof wedding, prinzenallee 25/ 26, 3. hof

22 March 2010

THE poetry reading this week

the poetry event this week (besides peter riley's and alistair noon's reading on thursday) will be taking place on

wed, 24 march 2010, 7.30 pm, methfesselstr. 23-25, 10965 berlin - kreuzberg, ca. 5€

ann cotten, daniel falb, steffen popp, monika rinck, and ron winkler will be reading from their work to celebrate the launch of a bi-lingual danish anthology of german contemporary poetry: Ny tysk poesi - 13 tyske lyrikere, alexander gumz & moritz schramm (hrsg.), arena verlag, kopenhagen 2009.

21 March 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

20 March 2010

siri hustvedt tv documentary

tomorrow, 21 march 2010, arte will be airing a siri hustvedt documentary at 5 pm. more info and rerun times here. (via bluetenleser)

19 March 2010

recent work by michael donhauser [WOAW exclusive!]

as a reaction to my post on the lyrikerempfang at berlin's red city hall, michael donhauser was not only nice enough to get in touch and thank me for my words, but in fact he sent me the prose-poems he read that night! i am overjoyed to be able to present to you my favourite one - they aren't available anywhere else on the web, so guess how honoured i feel?

if you like the one below, read another poem by michael donhauser called "Dich noch und" at urs engeler editor.
(photo by ute schendel)


Anfänglich erst neigten sich die Rosen, da die Dahlien standen, sich entblätterten die Zweige, dass in Farben stieg, was sommerlich spät war und warm noch ein Weichen, als wäre, da zogen wie Vögel die Schatten, ein Wiegen das Bleiben und leise im Laub, wenn es sank, wenn sich füllten mit Röte, gelblich die Birnen wie Äpfel oder lagen im Gras, gärend unter der gelichteten Krone, da ein Wind hob nicht und brach kaum und einzeln nur wanken liess und lose eine Ranke, eine Wicke am rostenden Zaun. 
(copyright by michael donhauser)

17 March 2010

rené hamann poetry reading: the highlights

"entmüdungsbecken"  [de-tiredation pool]
"subroutine"  [sub-routine]
"der anschlagende blick"  [the assaulting look]
"stadtkrank und faul"  [citysick, bum]

16 March 2010

tonight: rené hamann poetry reading


rené hamann, one of my favorite berlin poets, will be reading from his recent poetry collection "Berge und Täler, davon Männer und Frauen" tonight. i'll be there, hoping he won't mind i stole this picture from facebook.... who owns the photo credits, rené?

monarch, skalitzer str. 134, 10999 berlin - kreuzberg, 8.15 pm

15 March 2010

short notice: gerald stern poetry reading tonight!

famous american poet gerald stern and his translator thomas pletzinger will be reading from stern's new poetry collection Alles brennt tonight.

adler & söhne - supernova, stargarderstr. 24, berlin - prenzlauer berg, 8 pm

10 March 2010

poetry and politics: nigeria


my friend okey uzoechina from nigeria wrote a poem dedicated to the innocent victims of the recent ethno-religious crises in the country: "November 2009, January 2010, March 2010, and the ones yet to come". 

i am publishing it not because okey and i went to uni together, but because his poem is inspired by lacks of effective state politics and their resulting in death and destruction. i am not even going to get started on inter-religious dialogue here - it's just all so sad!

i am ashamed to admit that up to today i was completely unaware of nigerian poetry and that the great majority of it seems to be inspired by politics. award winners remi raji (who writes in english) and wole soyinka (first african winner of the nobel prize in literature in 1986, editor of the praised anthology Poems of Black Africa) seem to be good further references if you're interested.

in any case, i'd like to thank okey for choosing poetry as one of his ways of working against violence. 


THE CROSS & THE CRESCENT

Sacred sires of two great nations
Hostile brothers of long consanguine connexion
Turned uneasy neighbours by sinister suspicion
Tell me, will their wars of vengeance ever cease?

Each takes a different direction
In its quest for the soul’s salvation
Yet both declare for the same destination
Tell me, which will enter the Pearly Gates?

They preach peace and love to all creation
And give opium-soaked minds camouflage consolation
As crimes and wars increase by multiplication
Tell me, wherein lies such gross hypocrisy?

When they partake in political communion
They cross swords with fanatical aggression
Like fiery fiends stirred to destruction
Tell me, does atrocity justify a crown of conquest?

They attract mammoth congregations
With cosy creeds of true redemption
But which will serve the divine intention—

The Cross or the Crescent?