lyrikline blog

“The National Department of Poetry” by Grant Snider

Posted in Comic, Grant Snider by lyrikline on 21. March 2014

Here is something we stumbled upon only recently and thought we have to share it with you on World Poetry Day.

It’s a great comic by an artist we warmly recommend to explore since many of his works deal with poetry, literature and reading. Find more of Grant Snider’s comics here and don’t miss to have a look at his Poster Shop.


The National Department of Poetry by Grant Snider

The National Department of Poetry by Grant Snider

Happy World Poetry Day!

lyrikline wishes you all a very happy World Poetry Day today! We hope you have a great day full of words, sounds, melodies and poetic ideas.
We join the celebrations of the 15th World Poetry Day, proclaimed by the UNESCO in 2000 by presenting nine wonderful new poets from around the world today – at least one from every continent.

We hope very much that you will enjoy these nine new poets. Each of them is a unique and remarkable voice of the poetry of their countries and languages with their own poetic power and their special tone.

Normand de Bellefeuille (Quebec, Canada)
Gloria Dünkler (Chile)
Ulla Hahn (Germany)
Iman Mersal (Egypt)
TJ Dema (Botswana)
Yadollah Royai (Iran)
The Maw Naing (Myanmar)
LÜ De’an (China)
Pam Brown (Australia)

We’d also like to encourage everyone to “listen to the poet” on one of the many stages where poetry will happen today.

Many thanks to all lyrikline readers and listeners!

Readings to remember: W.H. Auden

Posted in W.H. Auden by lyrikline on 20. March 2014

Anglo-American poet Wystan Hugh Auden (February 21, 1907 – September 29, 1973) is regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He published about four hundred poems, including several really long poems, and more than four hundred essays and reviews about literature, history, politics, and many other subjects. His work is amongst others noted for its variety in tone, form and content.
For example, in this clip we see Auden reading a Doggerel [Knittelvers]. ‘Doggerel by a Senior Citizen‘ gives us the perspective of an old and curmudgeonly man, listing a dozen ways in which the world was worse in the 1960s than when he was growing up.

Here you will find the original text of ‘Doggerel by a Senior Citizen‘.

W.H. Auden was born in England, married Erika Mann later to provide her with a British passport, moved to the United States in 1939, where in 1946 he became an American citizen. From 1948 on, Auden began to spend the summers in Europe, first in Ischia, Italy, where he rented a house, then in Kirchstetten, Austria, where he bought a farmhouse in 1958.
In 1973, he died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Vienna and was buried in Kirchstetten, where he wanted to be buried, and to have a typical Austrian funeral.

Don’t miss this wonderful document of his 60th birthday celebration in Kirchstetten, Austria 1967, preserving the moment when the mayor and some local kids deliver their birthday wishes in rhymes.


Readings to remember: Joseph Brodsky

Posted in Joseph Brodsky by lyrikline on 19. March 2014

Russian poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky (May 24, 1940 – January 28, 1996) was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972, after 10 years of denunciation, imprisonment, hospitalization into a mental institution and years of not being allowed to publish nor to travel.
After he was put on a plane to Vienna in June 1972, he settled in America and never returned to Russia. In 1987, the American citizen Brodsky was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, receiving the Prize for Russian-language poetry.

Due to the fact that Brodsky wrote in Russian and English throughout his career, and was also self-translating his work occasionally, we thought it would be a good idea to come up with two clips today:

In this one, Joseph Brodsky reads his Russian poem Письма римскому другу [Letters To The Roman Friend]

Find an English translation here.

In the second clip we see Brodsky reading his poem A Song.


Readings to remember: Paul Celan

Posted in Paul Celan by lyrikline on 18. March 2014

In Catholicism, All Souls’ Day is the day to commemorate the dead souls, and annually occurs on November 2. In today’s clip we see Paul Celan (November 23, 1920 – April 20, 1970), born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Cernăuți*, reading his poem Allerseelen (All Souls) from the poetry book Sprachgitter (1959).

Celan’s texts can appear hermetically sealed. Not only is a contextualising often difficult in his work, also linguistic, historical, and religious modes interpenetrate and counteract each other.
In Allerseelen, some say, Celan speaks about the act of poetic creation (writing) and commemorates so to speak the creations themselves, his poems, which he has seen as living souls of its own kind.


Here you will find the original poem and a very nice English translation by Michael Hamburger.

Listen to more poems by Paul Celan on lyrikline.

* Chernivtsi, Northern Bukovina, a region then part of Romania and earlier part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of Ukraine)

Readings to remember: Dmitri Prigov

Posted in Dmitri Prigov by lyrikline on 17. March 2014

Dmitri Prigov (November 5, 1940 – July 16, 2007) was a Russian writer and artist. Trained as a sculptor, Prigov was, together with his friend Lev Rubinstein, a leading figure in the new Russian conceptual art school in the 1960s, understanding performance as a form of art. Prigov wrote plays and essays, created drawings, video art and installations, and was performing music. It’s said that he has written nearly 36,000 poems.

In 1986, the K.G.B arrested Prigov and sent him to a psychiatric hospital briefly, after a street performance in which he handed out poetic texts to passers-by. This clip shows another performance by Dmitri Prigov from the same year. Here he performs his poem ’49th Alphabet’ in the studio of conceptual artist Ilya Kabakov together with the Avantgarde Jazz drummer Vladimir Tarasov.


Find the Russian poem as text here.

Readings to remember: John Berryman

Posted in John Berryman by lyrikline on 16. March 2014

John Berryman (October 25, 1914 – January 7, 1972) was a major figure in American poetry in the second half of the 20th century and also a key figure in the school of poetry that became known as Confessional Poetry.
Berryman suffered a great loss at 12 when his father shot himself outside the boy’s window. This event haunted him throughout his life. He would later write about his struggle to come to terms with it in his book The Dream Songs (1964) which was awarded the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The Dream Song form consisted of short, eighteen-line lyric poems in three stanzas, and centers on a anguished character named “Henry” who has suffered an irreversible loss, very much like Berryman, and talks about himself in the first, third, even in the second person.

The clip shows John Berryman in Dublin, 1967, reading Dream Song 29 [There sat down, once, a thing on Henry’s heart]. But, as the attentive viewer may notice, Berryman was quite drunk when he was filmed and interviewed here for a BBC arts programme.


Read Dream Song 29 at Poetry Foundation.

Berryman taught or lectured at a number of universities, and was, from 1955 on, professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Nevertheless, Berryman continued to abuse alcohol and to struggle with depression, as he had throughout much of his adult life.
The poet’s lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression ended in 1972, when he jumped off the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis onto the west bank of the Mississippi River on the morning of January 7, 1972. He was 57.

Readings to remember: Thomas Kling

Posted in Thomas Kling by Heiko Strunk on 15. March 2014

Almost a classic: The ‘young’ Thomas Kling (June 5, 1957 – April 1, 2005) reads the opening poem of his book geschmacksverstärker (1989): ratinger hof, zettbeh (3).

This clip was originally part of an early portrait about this later legendary German poet by the TV programme ‘aspekte’ (1989).

And I do remember very well that I have seen it back then, got deeply impressed and bought the book just the other day.


Listen to Thomas Kling on lyrikline.

Readings to remember: Gunnar Ekelöf

Posted in Gunnar Ekelöf by lyrikline on 14. March 2014

Gunnar Ekelöf (September 15, 1907 – March 16, 1968)  is a classic of 20th-century Swedish poetry and was Sweden’s first surrealist poet. His work has had a major influence on generations of later writers not only in Sweden, among them Inger Christensen or Robert Bly. From 1958 he was a member of the Swedish Academy.

Ekelöf’s late work was influenced by his interest in the Orient and the Byzantine Empire. In this clip from 1961 he reads his poem Denna kväll i Pháliron (This evening in Pháliron). Trivia: Pháliron was ancient Athens’ oldest harbour.


We unsuccessfully raked the internet for any translation of this poem. So, if you don’t know Swedish, simply enjoy the beautiful melody of the Swedish language. By the way – some more trivia – did you know that Swedish is a “mildy tonal language”? Read here to find out more about it’s special tone.

Readings to remember: Rafael Alberti

Posted in Rafael Alberti by lyrikline on 13. March 2014

Spanish poet Rafael Alberti (December 16, 1902 – October 28, 1999), a member of the Generation of ’27,  is one of the great literary figures of Spanish Literature.
After the Spanish Civil War, Alberti went into exile, lived in Argentina until 1963, moved to Italy for some years and returned to Spain in 1977 after the death of Franco.
In 1983, he was awarded the Premio Cervantes, the Spanish literary world’s highest honour.

In this clip Alberti reads the first and the last stanza of his poem Mar:



Here is the complete original poem, as well as translations of the first strophe into English, French and German.