lyrikline blog

Interviews on “poetry & refugees” – 3 – Ali Al Jallawi

Posted in Ali Al Jallawi, Autoren / poets by lyrikline on 21. March 2015


Ali Al-Jallawi was born in Bahrain in 1975. He lives in Berlin today.

Lyrikline Blog (LB): Where do you come from and why did you leave your country of origin?

Ali Al-Jallawi (AA): I’m from Bahrain, and I left my country back in 2011, when I felt unsecure. When the Bahraini regime announced the emergency law in the state, the Saudi and the Emirati troops invaded the streets of Bahrain, they were responsible of suppressing the protests, arresting protesters and killing people on the streets, I broke away from home to live a life.

LB:In your view, is it the task of a poet also to be a chronicler or witness of his/her time?

AA: The poet is a mirror which reflects what is around him, reflects what he feels, what affected him, and what aspires him. He might be a witness, but without having the obligation of being one.

LB: What impact on society or politics can a poem have? Do oppressive regimes have to fear poetry?

AA: The tyrannies are terrified of everything that is beautiful, anything that provokes freedom, or incites erosion of their area of influence. The real poem consciously or unconsciously exposes and uncovers these systems, with a direct or indirect language. The dictator loves poetry (more…)

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!

Video messages from China

The Chinese lyrikline partner Mindy Zhang was on tour through China and shot some little video greetings with Chinese and international poets on the occasion of the website relaunch. Thanks to Mindy, the new lyrikline website can now be navigated in Chinese too! Doesn’t this look great?

This video shows Mindy together with Chinese Poet HU Xudong who she will contribute to lyrikline in the future and German poet Steffen Popp.

In the second video we see Xiao Kaiyu, who was the first Chinese poet on lyrikline together with American poet Ilya Kaminsky who will soon be available on lyrikline too and Mindy in Shanghai.

Celebrate the new site with us – Relaunch Event on 1 Sept!

photo construction side

Dear friends of lyrikline,

be there on Sunday, 1 Sept at 7pm (CEST) when the new lyrikline will be going online! We cordially invite you to celebrate with us and watch the event live stream on Heiko Strunk, the lyrikline project manager, will give us a tour of the relaunched website and all its new features and functions, we will link to partners in Nigeria, Russia and Slovenia via video, publish many new poets on the site and we will have six great lyrikline poets on stage, two of them to be published on the relaunch day:

Simen Hagerup (Norway),  Els Moors (Belgium), Steffen Popp (Germany), Pedro Sena-Lino (Portugal), Helena Sinervo (Finland) and Jan Wagner (Berlin). The lyrikline network partners Joel Scott (Australia) and Per Bergström (Sweden) will present the event.

You are invited not only to watch the event but to comment on facebook, on twitter (seems #llrelaunch is a suitable hashtag) and hopefully (still working on making this possible) also chat with us and some of the poets of the event.
The event physically takes place at ‘c-base – ›Raumstation unter Berlin Mitte‹ (Space station beneath Berlin-Mitte)’, a friendly place for IT and open source people, who kindly took us in. The languages of the event will be English and German mainly, but we’ll hear a bit of Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian and Finnish too.

See you on Sunday!

We’re excited…

The relaunch of the website has been made possible by a grant from the German Lottery Foundation, Berlin.
The event is taking place with the kind support of: c-base, Institut Ramon Llull, Royal Norwegian Embassy Berlin, Rámus Förlag, Malmö and the Swedish Embassy

The place where I write: Klaus Peter Dencker [Germany]

Posted in Autoren / poets, Klaus Peter Dencker by lyrikline on 18. March 2013
photo: Klaus Peter Dencker

photo: Klaus Peter Dencker

My working-place can be everywhere. I only need my set of instruments to perform an autopsy on images, texts and letters on the stage of my DIN A 4 white paper. Also I need several magnifying glasses for my eyes and the possibility to look behind all the material I am working with. I am not speaking about storerooms, cupboards, drawers and receptacles with lots of this material I am dealing with.

                                                                                                         Klaus Peter Dencker, Ahrensburg/Germany

Klaus Peter Dencker - Theorie Visueller Poesie

Klaus Peter Dencker – Theorie Visueller Poesie

“Theorie” is the biggest paper I ever did, ca. 85 x 60 cm.
At the same time it is theory, biography and poetry.
First published in: Klaus Peter Dencker, Optische Poesie. Berlin 2011.

Klaus Peter Dencker on lyrikline

Advent Calendar – 23

Posted in Autoren / poets, Olga Martynova by lyrikline on 23. December 2012
Olga Martynova

Olga Martynova

New poetry from cold regions. Today’s poet was born 300 km north of the Arctic Circle in the north-eastern part of the West Siberian Plain. She grew up in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) and moved to Germany in 1991. She writes poetry in Russian and prose in German and is an essayist in both languages. Behind the 23rd Advent Calendar window you’ll find the poetry of

Olga Martynova

(with translations into German and Swedish)

Born in 1962 in Dudinka, Russia, Olga Martynova studied Russian language and literature and works as a writer, critic and translator. For her German text Ich werde sagen: „Hi!“ she won the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann prize in Klagenfurt, Austria. She writes for magazines and newspapers like “Die Zeit” and “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” and lives in Frankfurt am Main together with her husband, the Russian poet, novelist and playwright Oleg Yuriev.

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Advent Calendar – 11

Posted in Autoren / poets, Rolf Haufs by lyrikline on 11. December 2012
Rolf Haufs

Rolf Haufs, photo:

“Perhaps the ‘big unknown’ among our contemporary poets, but certainly one of the most meaningful.” says a German critic about our new poet. Today, we don’t travel far for our Advent Calendar but stay in Berlin, where not only is based, but also the poet behind calendar door number 11,

Rolf Haufs

Born in 1935 in Düsseldorf, Germany, Rolf Haufs works as a writer of poetry, short stories and radio plays since 1960. From 1972, he was the literary editor of ‘Sender Freies Berlin’ radio station. Haufs is a witty observer of contemporary life. While in his early works addressing his hometown Berlin plays an important role, his later poetry is marked by melancholy.

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Ulf Stolterfoht zum Stellenwert der Poesie heute

Posted in Autoren / poets, Ulf Stolterfoht by Heiko Strunk on 19. March 2010

Heute, Mitte März 2010, können im gesamten deutschsprachigen Raum genau 4 (vier) DichterInnen von ihrer Lyrik leben (Namen auf Anfrage). Diesen Vieren also gelingt es, die verbliebene poetische Nachfrage komplett abzudecken. Was darüber hinaus von Nebenerwerbs- und Hobbylyrikern produziert wird, geschieht jenseits irgendeines Bedarfs. Das wäre nun alles gar nicht schlimm, nur gerät so jeder poetologische Versuch automatisch zu einer gesellschaftlichen  Zustandsbeschreibung. Es werden wahrscheinlich weiterhin Gedichte geschrieben werden, allerdings werden wir keinen gemeinsamen Begriff mehr davon haben, was ein Gedicht ist oder sein könnte. Wittgensteins Käfer. Solipsismus und/oder Hartz IV. Dazu dann auch noch das schreckliche Berliner Bier.

Ulf Stolterfoht, Deutschland

– – –

Today, the middle of March 2010, exactly 4 (four) poets in the German-speaking world are able to live from their verse alone (names on request). These four therefore succeed in supplying all remaining poetic demand. All that is being produced besides that, from hobby and part-time poets, is being produced beyond what is needed.  That in itself would not be so bad if it didn’t mean that every attempt at an individual poetic statement automatically leads to a description of contemporary society. Poems will probably be continued to be written, although we will no longer have a common definition of what a poem is or could be. Wittgenstein’s “Beetle”. Solipsism and/or HARTZ IV. And in addition, the horrible Berlin beer.

Ulf Stolterfoht, Germany

[Translated by Rebecca Bartusch/Marisa Pettit]

Ulf Stolterfoht on

The Anniversary Week Chain Poem

10 Jahre Lyrikline

For the final event of lyrikline’s anniversary week we asked the poets who read on Oct31 whether they’d like to write a chain poem together in the weeks before the event and present it on stage together. Six of the poets took part in this project: Daniel Samoilovich (Argentina), Babangoni Chisale (Malawi), Lutz Seiler (Germany), Remi Raji (Nigeria), Elke Erb (Germany), and Thomas Möhlmann (The Netherlands).

We have drawn the order of the poets by lot. Each of them wrote 5 lines and sent them, together with all the previous lines, to the next one. The poets decided to go for a second round with Lutz Seiler closing the circle on Oct30. Everyone was free to write in the languages of their choice. Here is the result of six weeks of poetic exchange (including the German/English translations in Italic):


1    Daniel Samoilovich

A root of heliotrope on Mars
produced a siren on the Moon.
There is a noisy waking up
of the dominoes knocked over
in triumph on the table.

Die Wurzel einer Sonnenwende auf dem Mars
schuf eine Sirene auf dem Mond.
Lautes Erwachen
der Dominosteine, triumphierend
angestoßen auf dem Tisch.

2    Babangoni Chisale

This small world
Multitude queue for justice, peace and fairness
Decision makers unconcerned
Unconsciousness of the masters pinches servant’s souls
But life is worthwhile with justice, equity and fairness

Diese kleine Welt
Menge steht Schlange für Gerechtigkeit, Frieden und Fairness
Gleichgültige Entscheider
Besinnungslosigkeit der Herren quält die Seelen der Knechte
Doch mit Gerechtigkeit, Gleichheit und Fairness lohnt Leben die Mühe.

3    Lutz Seiler

aber zuerst – ein kriegsherbst, wenn die dinge schon
von einem nerv durchzogen sind, entzündet an der luft. die treibjagd
holt über dem acker die schwerkraft
der gleise entfernungen schrumpfen & wer gerade unterwegs
gewesen ist, verschwindet in seinen gedanken

but first – a wartime autumn, when things were already
run through by a nerve, kindled on the air. the hunt
fetches the gravity of the tracks across
the field distances shrink & whoever was already on
the way, disappears in his thoughts

4    Remi Raji

There is a noisy waking in the silence…
Men walk in the thickets of their thoughts
Some blessed to be thorns, some cursed to thrive.
The world runs a race on crooked limbs
And one deaf foot does not tell the other.

Da ist ein lautes Erwachen in der Stille…
Menschen wandern im Dickicht ihrer Gedanken
Einige gesegnet Dornen zu werden, andere verflucht zum Blühen.
Die Welt im Wettlauf auf gebeugten Gliedern
Und ein tauber Fuß erzählt nicht dem andern…

5    Elke Erb

Maria durch den Dornwald ging
und der Glaube versetzte die Berge
Wessen Ohr ein Herz hat
kann Geflüster hören
und Tauben gurren

Maria walks amid the thorn
and faith moved the mountains
Whose ears have a heart
may hear a whispher
and doves coo

6    Thomas Möhlmann

Roses on the thorns appear and I
thank god that you’re around to tell me
nothing’s wrong and I should simply raise
one foot after the other, keep on walking
even when the thorns start wearing roses

Aus den Dornen blühn Rosen und ich
danke Gott, dass du hier bist mir zu erklären
alles in Ordnung und ich soll nur einen Fuß
vor den anderen setzen, weitergehen, auch
wenn die Dornen beginnen Rosen zu tragen

7    Daniel Samoilovich
and cooings wearing doves.

und Gurren Tauben trägt.

8    Remi Raji

finally, the mountain will appear to you
as the happy path, the valley of dreams
you will walk, away from the war game, with me
into the new ceremonies of light and love.
Even the birds are singing differently, because of you.

Zuletzt wird der Berg dir als der frohe
Pfad erscheinen, das Tal der Träume
du wirst gehen, aus dem Kriegsspiel, mit mir
in die neuen Riten von Licht und Liebe.
Auch die Vögel singen anders, weil du.

9 Babangoni Chisale

In the thicket of desperation
Broken thoughts mingles with empty heart
Drilling anxiety, depression and marauding tears
AS construction of hope progressing
Patience heals the wounds and gouges a way through

In der Verzweiflung Dickicht
Mischen zerbrochene Gedanken sich mit leerem Herzen
Nagender Furcht, Depression und marodierenden Tränen
Als ein Konstrukt nicht endender Hoffnung
Heilt Geduld die Wunden und bahnt einen Weg

10 Elke Erb

Wie die Verzweiflung das Dickicht hat,
so hat das Tal Berg und Berg.
Die Berge aber, sieht es, haben einander.
Wer sprechen kann, kann sich zweifellos fragen,
ob das Leiden das Leiden heilt.

As desperation has the thicket,
so the valley has mountain and mountain
But the mountains, it sees, have each other.
Whoever can speak can ask themselves without a doubt,
whether suffering heals suffering.

11    Thomas Möhlmann

So like snowballs I throw new pain
at you, it’s only medicine my dear,
like two giant mercies, like two marble
mountain tops gazing at each other, like
nothing’s wrong: I should simply raise one foot.

Werfe ich so neuen Schmerz wie Schneebälle
auf dich, es ist nur, Liebe, Medizin,
wie zwei gigantische Gnaden, wie zwei marmorne
Berggipfel die einander anstarren, wie
alles in Ordnung: Ich soll nur einen Fuß –

12    Lutz Seiler

über die täler und berge redest du nicht wie
das licht über die vögel spricht. aber auch draussen
war etwas wie drinnen, unter dem fenster
die strasse herunter gewunkene lieder, sie sagen:
wir hätten das bein an die zeit gebunden

of the valleys and mountains you do not speak like
the light speaks of the birds. but then outside
something met the inside, under the window
songs beckoned down the street, they say:
we tied our legs up to time

Translations by: Steffen Popp, Lutz Seiler, Daniel Samoilovich, Juliane Otto, Melita Aleksa, Marisa Pettit

10 Jahre Lyrikline