Weltklang – Night of Poetry is the polyvocal opening event of the poesiefestival berlin – this year live in the Internet. Poets from all parts of the world read, sing and perform in seven different native languages. They demonstrate the richness of contemporary poetry in all its diversity of content, approaches and styles. In this time of corona pandemic their poems deal explicitly in places with the subject of ‘state of emergency’. Those who can read German can follow the readings with the German translations provided.
Mircea Cărtărescu (born in 1956 in Bucharest) is an undisputedly world-class writer of prose. His poetry, on the other hand, is an undiscovered treasure trove. They are texts which have deliberately not been written with a politely hooked little finger; they are monomaniacal and eager for life, always politically incorrect and saturated with the fat of experience. Poetry Talk with Mircea Cărtărescu
The poems of Michael Donhauser (born in 1956 in Vaduz, Lichtenstein) use small gestures bound together with musicality to negotiate the large themes: tenderness, contemporaneity, transitoriness, where the poetic ego is more a filter than an instance interpreting the world. What results is, in the poet’s words, “a shimmering of syllables an inimitable saying“.
Athena Farrokhzad (born in 1983 in Iran) lives in Stockholm and writes in Swedish. In her work she blends poetic, political and conceptual processes. Questions of migration and revolution, racism, heritage and assimilation are negotiated in her poems in an almost scenic manner. For Weltklang, Farrokzhad is performing together with the vocalist Christian Kesten. Poetry Talk with Athena Farrokhzad and Koleka Putuma
Yanko González’s (born in 1971 in Santiago de Chile) work is a milestone in the Chilean tradition after the end of the dictatorship. His poems are rooted in oral tradition and explore the margins of society. He experiments with sociolects and parodies academic jargon. By his own account he wants to write texts for people and not erect mausoleums that exclude the reader. Poetry Talk with Yanko González
Luljeta Lleshanaku (born in 1968 in Elbasan) almost single-handedly revived Albanian poetry after the end of the Hoxha dictatorship. She has radically excised from her poems everything that was contaminated with Stalinism in her country. Her poems are profound, simple and hypnotic, like “arabesques waking from sleep.” Poetry Talk with Luljeta Lleshanaku
Koleka Putuma (born in 1993 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) instantly conquered the South African literary scene as a playwright and Spoken Word artist. Her poems dissect concepts of authority. They speak of inequality and violence – directly, powerfully and vehemently. Pain and joy, mourning and memory, love and sex all have their place in them. Poetry Talk with Athena Farrokhzad and Koleka Putuma
Ariana Reines’ (born in 1982 in Salem, Massachusetts) poems are brimming with untamed grrl wildness, leaping out at readers. They are dominated by overwhelming physicality. Reines writes about the violence done by humans to animals and by men to women, and makes the wounds visible on the body of language itself: “glvovrme. Brns; ozne.” Poetry Talk with Ariana Reines
Katharina Schultens (born in 1980 in Kirchen (Sieg)) combines in her poems technical jargon with dark romanticism, anger with hope, political analysis with deeply personal imagery. In lines that seem to unfold organically like hitherto unknown plant forms the perception of the reader is palpated, dissected and reconstituted.
Yi Won (born in 1968 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do) writes poems that seduce her readers into a surreal world of monstrous body fantasies. They are dystopian fever visions in which human and machine merge, transplanted glass fibre electrodes send wireless signals into the world and cybernetic organisms take over the writing and reviewing of poems. Poetry Talk with Yi Won
With German subtitles.
Hosted by: Insa Wilke (literary scholar)
Project organisers: Alexander Gumz | Matthias Kniep
with Mircea Cărtărescu (Romania), Michael Donhauser (Liechtenstein), Athena Farrokhzad (Iran), Yanko González Cangas (Chile), Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania), Ariana Reines (United States), Katharina Schultens (Germany), Yi Won (South Korea), Koleka Putuma (South Africa), Tracy September (South Africa), Christian Kesten (Germany)
Weltklang – Night of Poetry is supported with the kind assistance of the Federal Foreign Office, the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme, the Kulturstiftung Schloss Wiepersdorf, the Swedish Embassy, the Instituto Cervantes Berlin and the Austrian Culture Forum Berlin.