lyrikline blog

Nigeria celebrates Niyi Osundare’s 70th birthday on World Poetry Day

Posted in Niyi Osundare, our network partners, Remi Raji by lyrikline on 21. March 2017

Niyi Osundare is Nigeria’s most acclaimed poet. He turned 70 only some day ago, on March 12th. In his home Nigeria he is honoured with an impressive event organised on World Poetry Day in Ibadan. On the occasion of his 70th birthday and World Poetry Day we are proud to present Niyi Osundare on lyrikline where you can now listen to him read seven of his poems.

Remi Raji of Diktaris, the Nigerian partner organisation of lyrikline, pays tribute to this great Nigerian poet.


Niyi Osundare: Gardener and Warrior of Light at 70

by Remi Raji

The gardener of redolent words, the warrior of light, is three scores and ten years on Mother Earth. Niyi Osundare is undoubtedly one of the most enduring voices of Nigerian second generation poetry.

Niyi Osundare, photo: gezett

Fire in the bushels of barbarians, scourge of tyrants and traitors, the predictable voice against the conclaves of corruption, he of million metaphors, neither tired nor tiring of speaking truth to crookedness in high and low places.

Born on March 12, 1947 in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, Niyi Osundare has achieved solid fame through hard work, diligence, and a dogged commitment to creativity and intellectual distinction. Grand and multiple award winner for his numerous books of poetry, he is always in great and real elements in the classroom, as trainer and high priest of knowledge. I am certainly not the only witness to Osundare’s unique teaching style…being one in a long list of his Creative Writing students at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Ten years ago, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, I penned a tribute about Osundare’s philosophy of art:

Chinua Achebe teaches us a masterful and disarming narrative style filled with both lessons and puzzles; Soyinka bequeaths to us a large canvass of artistic genius and political daring; and Okigbo, the combination of the puzzle and the daring that the real author is all about, provides us with the limitless possibilities of the Muse, the true excitement of imagination. In his poetry and essays, Osundare, the scion of Osun captures the vagaries of the African dilemma, with the deep emotive insight of a revolutionary artist. Always, he queries the “jangling discord” of the Nigerian nation in a harmonious language made for intimacy and intelligibility; he draws consistently on the heritage of Yoruba verbal elegance which he transforms onto the graphic and permanent intelligence of the written word; for him the page is only a tangible site for the performance of the poetic text, and the voice, with the atmosphere of delivery, is the thing. To read a poem sitting, or standing like Sigidi, he insists, is to commit an abominable act, a disservice to the pageant of the enchanted word!
Indeed, Niyi Osundare is the poet of the alter-native tradition par excellence.

Global Nigerian. African Patriot. Engaging Poet. Three odd things to be at the same time, at all time, Niyi Osundare continues a healthy dialogue with his country and continent, without apologies, without compromise and without anxieties. Master of romantic and satirical verses, his most recent poem to the Nigerian/African public sphere is indeed both topical as it is provocative: “My Lord, Tell Me Where to Keep Your Bribe”.

We celebrate Olosunta’s child, Katrina’s survivor, we celebrate decades of unrelenting writing and activism. Many hearty cheers to the author of Songs of the Marketplace, Village Voices, A Nib in the Pond, The Eye of the Earth, Moonsongs, Songs of the Season, Waiting Laughters, The Word is an Egg, Tender Moments, Random Blues…etc.
May many more celebrations come and go like the rains in the predictable hour.

World Poetry Day Event
A special interactive event on World Poetry Day (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) is dedicated to Niyi Osundare’s ideas and poetry under the title “Poetry, Politics and Society.”

Participants include Nelson Fashina (author of Gods at the Harvest, 1998), Ademola Dasylva (ANA Poetry Prize winner, 2006), Tade Ipadeola (NLNG Poetry Prize winner, 2013), Jumoke Verissimo (Creative Coordinator of Ibadan Poetry Foundation, and author of I am Memory, 2008 and The Birth of Illusion, 2015) and Matthew Umukoro (author of Dross of Gold, 2002).
Also scheduled to perform at the event is a list of emerging and engaging Nigerian poets like Funmi Aluko, Ibukun Adeeko (Winner of the Babishai Poetry Prize, 2015), Charles Akinsete, Ndubuisi Martins Aniemeka, Bartholomew Akpah, Sola Ojikutu, Oladele Noah, Oredola Ibrahim, Theo Edokpayi, Danladi Sunday, O’Busayor, Saddiq Dzukogi (ANA Teen Author Prize winner & Brunel International African Poetry Prize, 2017 Shortlist) and Rasaq Malik (Brunel International African Poetry Prize, 2017 Shortlist).

The venue of the programme is the Faculty of Arts Quadrangle, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
Time: 18.00 – 20.00.

This is an Open Event.

Event Coordination:
Supported by:


Remi Raji is a Nigerian poet, scholar, literary organiser, and cultural activsit. He is a member of the lyrikline partner network with Diktaris and his poems can be read and listened to on lyrikline.


Klinika closure: Prague’s poets protest – statements by Jáchym Topol and Adam Borzič

Posted in Adam Borzič, Jáchym Topol, Jonáš Hájek, our network partners by lyrikline on 9. March 2016

We would like to raise your awareness to current happenings and a heated debate in Prague where the social and cultural centre Klinika is threatened with closure. Authorities refused to extend their lease of an old building  that once was a sanatorium for consumptives. Over the last year the Klinika activist group breathed new life into the old premises by organising cultural events and providing aid for homeless people, migrants and refugees, supported by many volunteers. klinikaIn the last days and weeks hundreds and thousands of Prague’s citizens spoke out against the closure in demonstrations and events organised to support the centre.

More than 30 Czech writers wrote an open letter to support Klinika, among them many poets, e.g. Jáchym Topol and Jonáš Hájek. They organised readings to support the centre. We think that support and solidarity for Klinika is important also beyond Prague and the Czech Republic so we hope this reaches out to many people and places. We are happy that the poets Jáchym Topol and Adam Borzič wrote us some lines about their thoughts and the situation which we can post here in English thanks to @olga_pek.

The poets’ statements:

The Klinika Autonomous Social Centre in Prague is a centre of volunteer help on many levels – from regular shipments of clothes and necessities to refugees and the Zdrojovna (“Sourcing Room”) freeshop, to a homeless kitchen, pre-school kids centre, foreign language school (including Czech as a foreign language) as well as a cultural hub (hosting readings and lectures). It came into being about a year ago, in an outstanding feat of public involvement across the Czech society. Klinika is run exclusively on the basis to civic cooperation and volunteering, with no financial donations or grants either from the state or private companies. While in state ownership, the premises of the former clinic have been dilapidating for many years before the Klinika collective managed to breath a new life into it. Since then it has become the symbolic lungs and heart of the Czech civic society.
Now, after a year of exemplary functioning, during which Klinika successfully won the support of the majority of publicly involved citizens, the state authorities have refused to extend Klinika’s lease contract, citing several bureaucratic obstacles. This comes only a few weeks after an attack by right-wing extremists on Klinika, which took place on the same day that saw demonstrations in Prague both for and against migration. It is precisely as a symbol of the civic society extending help to refugees that Klinika became a target of the ultra-right-wing hooligans.
Many NGO’s and individuals, including those coming from the progressive part of the political representation, have pledged their support to Klinika. Over 30 Czech writers have expressed their support for Klinika in an open letter, many of them well-known poets and authors of fiction. Despite that, the Autonomous centre has been called upon to evacuate the premises. The collective decided to occupy the space and is now trying to negotiate with the authorities.
It seems obvious that the attack on Klinika, launched by the state authorities, is politically motivated and serves especially those who peddle xenophobic and fascist inclinations and populism. Clearly, Klinika seems bothersome because it stands for a non-market, humanistic and communitarian approach to life. This is one of the reasons why many of us, Czech poets, support the Autonomous centre.
Adam Borzič

Having worked for a year in order to foster conditions where local culture and refugee help would blossom, the volunteers from Klinika centre were attacked by a fascist commando.
The public officers who now refuse to arrange the legal adjustments necessary for Klinika to keep working not only harm a good cause, but also in fact assist in moving the Czech Republic further to the East, somewhere into the “Putinzone” and in close proximity of attempts at a total control of the society.
Jáchym Topol

This video was shot by Ondřej Mazura at a Klinika event last weekend and shows a reading of poet Adam Borzič in the occupied building.

We at lyrikline and Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (Haus für Poesie) support Klinika and hope they will be able to continue their humanitarian and cultural work for a tolerant society. We wish all the protesters who stand united perseverance and, finally,  success!

We ask for your solidarity, for example by spreading the news or signing the petiton (see below).

Further links:
Online Petition against the closure
Klinika on Facebook in Czech and in English



Wisława Szymborska – Now on lyrikline!

Posted in Autoren / poets, our network partners, Wisława Szymborska by lyrikline on 1. February 2015

Wisława Szymborska (02.07.1923 – 01.02.2012)
Photo by Michał Rusinek

Today, the 1st of February three years ago, is the day Wisława Szymborska, the great Polish poet died in Kraków. On this occasion, we are incredibly happy to be able to present you some of her poems on lyrikline, in her remembrance.

She really was a “Mozart of Poetry”, as many call her – and a modest one! In 1996, she won the Nobel Prize, donated all of the Nobel Prize money to social projects and held one of the shortest thank speeches ever in Stockholm. She actually mockingly divided her life in a “pre-” and a “post-Nobel-catastrophe”-period, as all the attention she got after 1996 was more of a burden to her, who never seeked public attention. It is such warm and precise irony that also characterizes many of her poems. Apart from this ironic perspective, it is not easy to describe Szymborska’s poetry as a whole, as it is so diverse. In fact, each poem is unique in its own way and it is precisely that which makes them all so irresistible.

From today on, you can listen to her yourselves on lyrikline, thanks to the kind permission of the Wisława Szymborska Foundation. This is also a great address if you want to get some additional information and videos, etc. With the help of our network partners we were also able to add translations (Croatian, Belarusian, Estonian, Swedish and German) and more will follow soon, for sure!



This article was written by Carla Hegerl, lyrikline intern who helped preparing and editing Szymborska’s page on lyrikline. 


Tagged with: ,

Movement in Czech literature

Posted in Jaromír Typlt, Kateřina Rudčenková, our network partners, Radek Malý by lyrikline on 28. December 2014

Right before the end of this year we invite you to take a look at what’s going on in the Czech poetry world. Internationally, not very much has been heard of Czech poetry in the last years. At least two developments will certainly do their bit to change this.


Jaromír Typlt

First of all, and sort of household news, we started a partnership for lyrikline in the Czech Republic this year and are happy to publish the first three poets resulting from this partnership. Enjoy the poetry of Jaromír Typlt, Kateřina Rudčenková, and Radek Malý. Moreover, a group of about 30 Czech poets and writers founded a Writers’ Association at the end of November 2014 in Prague. The founders of this organisation were discontent with the current professional organisation, the Writers‘ Guild, and felt it had failed to defend the interests of writers. The new association aims to strengthen the Czech literature landscape as a whole, to be a credible partner in negotiations with government institutions, and to establish international collaborations. More Czech writers are expected to join the new organisation. Already among them are the poets Adam Borzič, Ondřej Hanus, Ondřej Buddeus, Božena Správcová, and Jonáš Hájek. Read more about the newly founded Writers’ Association on CzechLit. And here’s a German language radio feature of Radio Prague about the new group.

Looking back on the relaunch day – a summary

We had been eagerly awaiting the “relaunch day” for months. As of 1 September, the new lyrikline is up and running!

Many people helped to bring the new site into life and many people came to celebrate with us and followed the relaunch event at c-base in Berlin or online via live stream. For all who couldn’t be there or want to relive the event here’s a little summary.

Ready? Go!

What ingredients does an event need that celebrates the new lyrikline? Next to having a look into what is new, there should be the elements that make lyrikline the living project that it is – poets, users, national partners, voices, languages, poems and translations. We tried to add a bit of it all and stir well…

The event was opened by our two charming presenters, Joel Scott of Australian partner organisation The Red Room Company and Per Bergström who is the Swedish partner with Rámus förlag. Many other local lyrikline partners
sent their video greetings or organised relaunch happenings in their countries


Heiko Strunk speaking about the new website (© gezett)

Heiko Strunk, who managed the project right from its start in 1999 and masterminded the website relaunch, gave us a showcase tour of the site and introduced all the new features.

So, what’s new?

To mention all the new things in detail would extend poetry length by bar. Best go and have a look! But here are some of the essentials…

Navigation languages:

Next to the five existing languages to navigate the site which were Arabic, English, French, German, and Slovenian there are four new languages: Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Start page:

The new site opens new ways to access the content of lyrikline so the users don’t get lost amidst the 900 poets, 8,000 poems, 11,000 translations or 60 languages of poetry. Next to thematic teasers, the start page offers a radio like theme stream, recommends poems or poets to discover and informs about new content. From the main menu you can now select poets not only from A-Z or by languages but also by countries and you can browse the site by poems also, e.g. many poems can be found by categories like humorous poetry or issues like alcohol & drugs and many more everyday life topics.

Search & Community:

Have a look at the new design of the poem page, lean back on your couch after you selected „listen to all poems“ by your favourite poet or find the needle in the hay by using the new search and its dozen refinement options. Moreover, you can remember content, create your own lists or explore what other users like by becoming a member of the community.

Whatever access point you start from to explore poetry on lyrikline you’ll be able to find all the six poets who performed at the relaunch event on stage in Berlin, be it Finnish poet Helena Sinervo or Norwegian Simen Hagerup, who were both published on the site during the live event, Els Moors from Belgium, Pedro Sena-Lino from Portugal or the German poets Steffen Popp and Jan Wagner. Since the latter is the most translated poet on lyrikline his poem champignons was read on stage in the languages of all the present poets.

Can you hear me?


google hangouts session: Andrej Hocevar waiting in Ljubljana

To give the lyrikline users the chance to follow the event via online streaming was a main aim since lyrikline is a web project and its main audience is sitting at a computer and not in front of a stage. Another idea was to establish live video connections to our partners and to poets in Nigeria, Russia and Slovenia during the event. In the end this did not go as well as we hoped and not nearly as well as it did when we ‘practised’ two weeks before, meeting in our first google hangouts session to check if we can all hear and see each other. At least we could hear Russian poet Linor Goralik read a poem in Moscow that night, but due to technical problems, the session sadly hardly worked and there was a lot of desperate asking „Can you hear me?“  This photo of a waiting Andrej Hocevar in Slovenia portraits the unlucky attempt. The more we’d like to thank the patient poets Linor Goralik in Russia and Benson Eluma in Nigeria and the partners Andrej Hocevar, Dmitry Kuzmin and Remi Raji who put a lot of time and effort in this. It’s a shame it did not really properly.

Messages from Space

Other connections to the outer world were more successful. It was fun to read what Julià Florit and Thomas Andersson, the partners from Catalonia and Sweden wrote while they took over our lyrikline facebook and twitter accounts to post some impressions of the event. The two of them and poet Els Moors also formed the jury that selected their favourite „space poems“ which were sent for the relaunch by users answering an open call. The space topic was inspired by the event venue, the c-base „space station“ in Berlin which is an association of IT activists and their headquarter was a great place for the lyrikline relaunch event.

literaturWERKstatt berlin

Left: the two presenters Joel and Per, right: Julià and Thomas connecting to the outer world (© gezett)

We’re happy that with the relaunch, this new era of lyrikline has finally started. It’ll certainly take a good while before all the little bugs left on the new site will be found and fixed. Continuously, more and more poems will be sorted into the categories, more new poets will be published and ideas for new start page teasers will have to be found. It is, as it was, work in progress so stay tuned and visit the new site every now and then.

Thank you all for coming to the relaunch event, for watching it online or for following the whereabouts of lyrikline!

Space Poems

Posted in Els Moors, Open Call, our network partners, Users by lyrikline on 5. September 2013

Last week, in the run up to our website relaunch and the live event, Spacewe started an open call and asked for your short ‘Space Poems’. The call is closed now and we would like to thank everyone who took part!! We received 15 poems, sent to us in English and German via twitter, facebook and as blog comments and enjoyed reading the poems a lot. We hope you all do!


… and here are the Space Poems …




when we credulously

reached for the clouds

a clamour

from the mouth of

a careless fish

by Achim Wagner (via twitter)



words are vinds which blow roofs

Daiga Mežaka (via blog comment)



There’s no sound in a space poem, only the charged particles of solar wind.

by Dave Bonta (via twitter)



Folda Saumtar


Weil polygam in der



Dode jedan ratom


by Friedrich Stockmeier (via facebook)



At one gee

an event horizon forms

one light year

behind my ship:

no news from home

as long as my engine holds out.

(from Microcosms, 5/2011)

by Geoffrey A. Landis (via blog comment)

This poem was read at the lyrikline relaunch event, selected by Catalan lyrikline partner Julià Florit.




im Tosen beginnen die Automaten zu sprechen,

die Menschen zittern und lauschen.

Gebete denkt sich einer.


Alle atmen.


by Julia Dathe (via facebook)



Killer lyrics


don’t let me guess what you want

give me or go play somewhere else

in the digital void it’s too dark to see

underground in me is a deep mine

laid by the Furies.

They got tired of people robbing

my precious ores.

If I keep on following

this vein of thought

(too late to replace the years

too bored for revenge)

I’ll end up like those aging rock ’n folk heroes

writing songs of disillusion

spiked with passive aggression

You know, the brittle lyrics that skate

coolly along the surface

endorsing the chosen path of the past

(Don’t look back.) Then crack

to reveal the anger in the last line

with a parting shot. Bang! Bang! —

I wrote you off. All of you.

© Karen Margolis

Berlin, August 2013 (via blog comment)



Blend in


What would I wear into space?

My black dress with the tiny silver beads.

Not the one with swirls of blue and green

soft lonely longing.


by Kirsty Elliot (via blog comment)



Au“- schrie es in meinem Kopf. Eine reflexive Reaktion auf das zwickende Zwerchfell? Ein Zwitschern des Augenliedes und katarrhhh klingt es rumorvoll langsam aus.

Er hatte einen traumhaften Schaum. Auf der Etikette stand „selbstaussäend“, doch das las er nicht, sondern setzte sich und dekorierte den Rest mit Passionsflüchten.

2 poems by Lydia (via blog comment)



wir bewegen uns durch welten


nehmen uns her

aus plätzen

geträumtes dunkel

und bringen uns ein

räumen die welt aus den räumen


by Matthias Dietrich (via blog comment)



All-That-Is a boundless dot, through time and space itself forgot: Dichtung means densification of all-that-matters as vibration.

by Raffael Kéménczy (via twitter)



Message in a bottle of dreams

you should call it free

or else uncoil it

through thin air and in the misfit casts

of rident expansion.”


“Botschaft in einer Flasche aus Träumen

frei nennen / oder abspulen

durch dünne Luft und in den Fehlschmelzen

lächelnder Expansion.”

by Schirin Nowrousian (via facebook)

This poem was read at the lyrikline relaunch event, selected by Belgian poet Els Moors.





A ship at sail…

-does it ever think

the waters may abscond?

Or that the mast

is a woodworm’s nest?–

The bow divides the waves

trusting its strength

and is a god in motion.

by Therese Pace (via blog comment)



Wohin geht der Zugangscode wenn man ihn gedrückt hat?

by UKON (via twitter)

This poem was read at the lyrikline relaunch event, selected by Swedish publisher Thomas Andersson.

Relaunch messages – a video greeting from Québec

Posted in Autoren / poets, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

For our website relaunch, people affiliated to lyrikline like poets, local lyrikline partners and artists sent their personal videos. All the messages we received are uploaded here on our blog. Many thanks to all who sent us their greetings. Thanks also to everyone who gave us their feedback and congratulations on the new site and spread the word about it!

Here’s a video from our Québec partner, the UNEQ, that introduces all the lyrikline poets from Québec in a very special way.

Video message from Portugal

Posted in about us, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

Video greetings from Portugal by Inês Pedrosa of Casa Fernando Pessoa, the lyrikline partner in Portugal.

By the way, Portuguese is a new navigation language on lyrikline. Have a look.

Video message from Macedonia

Posted in Autoren / poets, Nikola Madzirov, our network partners by lyrikline on 4. September 2013

A message by Macedonian poet and lyrikline partner Nikola Madzirov.

Nikola Madzirov’s poetry on lyrikline

Video message from Finnish Poetry Flashmob

Posted in Autoren / poets, Olli Heikkonen, our network partners by lyrikline on 3. September 2013

During Runokuu Poetry Festival in Helsinki, lyrikline partner Laura Serkosalo of Nuoren Voiman Liitto organised these greetings by poet Olli Heikkonen. We see many other Finnish poetry activists at their festival flashmob in the Helsinki railway station.