We are happy to end our summer slump on this blog with the presentation of a very unique project which was published on lyrikline.org today. From January to April 2012, poets from all 27 countries of the European Union and the accession country Croatia wrote a chain poem or, as we call it, Renshi to Europe, for the Berlin Poetry Festival.
The picture above shows all poets who took part: l.t.r. Martin Solotruk (Slovakia), Gabrielė Labanauskaitė (Lithuania), Olga Ravn (Denmark), Claudia Gauci (Malta), Jen Hadfield (United Kingdom), Zoltán Tolvaj (Hungary), Filipa Leal (Portugal), Luigi Nacci (Italy), Tom Reisen (Luxembourg), Gwenaëlle Stubbe (Belgium), Ester Naomi Perquin (Netherlands), Jonáš Hájek (Czech Republic), Sotos Stavrakis (Cyprus), Yannis Stiggas (Greece), Edward O’Dwyer (Ireland), Marko Pogačar (Croatia), Maarja Kangro (Estonia), Gregor Podlogar (Slovenia), Christoph Szalay (Austria), Jean-Baptiste Cabaud (France), Jenny Tunedal (Sweden), Harry Salmenniemi (Finland), Arvis Viguls (Latvia), Josep Pedrals (Spain), Svetlana Cârstean (Romania), Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria), Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało (Poland). Katharina Schultens (Germany) is not on the picture.
In renshi.eu, the last line of each poem became the first of the next, thus connecting each poet to his/her predecessor. There were five groups with six to seven poets in each, creating five side-by-side chain poems by authors with 23 different native languages. Find all texts and translations as well as the audio recording on lyrikline.org
Greece, as both the focus of the economic crisis and the birthplace of European culture and democracy, was the jumping off point for this Renshi. The Greek poet Yannis Stiggas’s poem was used as the starting point and basis for all five groups. At the end, he also wrote a final verse that reflected on the extant traces of his own lines in the writing of the other authors.
lyrikline.org was a cooperation partner of renshi.eu. Many thanks to the partners of the lyrikline.org network who helped to organise this project: Absoluteville / Absolute Poetry, Ars Poetica-International Poetry Festival, Casa Fernando Pessoa, Croatian P.E.N. Centre, Estonian Literature Centre, Institute ramon llull, Koperator – The International Cultural Programme Centre, Latvian Literature Centre, Literature Across Frontiers, Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, Nederlands Letterenfonds / Dutch Foundation for Literature, Nuoren Voiman Liitto / Runokuu Festival, Petöfi Irodalmi Múzeum, Rámus förlag, Romanian Culture Institute Berlin.
Saturday evening held some impressive moments for the people in Berlin and an event that is seldom to experience. On August 28 at 8pm a helicopter circulated above Lustgarten square in the middle of Berlin and dropped tens of thousands of poems by poets from Chile and Germany. This event took place during the long night of museums in Berlin with a focus on Bicentenario this year.
The falling poetry pieces in the evening sky and all the people trying to catch them created a great and very special atmosphere with the helicopter circulating for about half an hour. We heard people discussing the best ways to catch the poems, others starting a competition on who collected more… we experienced people who were absolutely eager for poetry. All photos: © Cara
At 8 pm on Saturday 28 August 2010 a shower of poetic rain will fall on the Berlin Lustgarten. A helicopter will circle over the Museum Island and for around half an hour will let 100,000 bookmarks with poems by 80 poets from Germany and Chile flutter down on the square between the Berlin Dom, the Zeughaus and the Old Museum. They will include poems by lyrikline poets Ann Cotten, Karin Fellner, Nora Gomringer, Andrea Heuser, Orsolya Kalász, Björn Kuhligk, Marion Poschmann, Arne Rautenberg, Monika Rinck, Hendrik Rost, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Tom Schulz, Thien Tran, Anja Utler, Jan Wagner, Ron Winkler and Uljana Wolf.
This spectacular action is part of the Long Night of Museums and, in the two-hundredth anniversary year of Chile’s independence, a statement against war and for reconciliation. The rain of poems is intended to make poetry accessible to a lot of people and send out o message of peace. There have already been similar actions, the first being in Santiago de Chile, then later in Dubrovnik, Guernica and Warsaw.
‘Poetry Rain’ is a project by Casagrande and the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin in cooperation with the Long Night of Museums and the Embassy of the Republic of Chile. It is taking place with the kind support of: Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes – Chile, DIRAC Chile, Dulce Compania, Foreign Ministry, lyrikline.org, Prussian Maritime Foundation, Rattapallax
Certainly many of you had some exciting days during the Football World Cup in South Africa. We’ve had a good time here in Berlin at the lyrikline.org headquarter (at least until the semi finals) with nearly all colleagues in our institution (Literaturwerkstatt Berlin) swept by football fever. In the end, the lyrikline.org office was defeated in the in-house betting pool by the open mike department in a very close race.
The headline of this article is quoted from a nice poem found on lyrikline which seems to have been made for Paul, the octopus oracle that was so (tragically) right this year. Here is the octopus poem by Joanne Burns from Australia.
Thanks to everyone for following our poetic match series on Twitter and Facebook, that presented two poems from the competing countries every day (except for a short holiday break). For the archives, here is the complete list of the poetic encounters:
Finally, congratulations to Spain!
Speech of Monika Rinck, Festivities for 10 years of lyrikline.org
26.10.2009, Palais (Kulturbrauerei) Berlin
THE TRUTH ABOUT POETRY
Federal President, Mrs Köhler, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
Poems exist. This is true. People often complain about the difficulty of poetry. Difficult it may be. But it’s no more difficult than the rest of our present, and it seems logical that in order to say anything at all about the world, one should not fall short of its complexity. People say poetry is inscrutable, awkward, that is doesn’t surrender itself readily. But without poetry, how would I know that there’s anything to be seen where the poem blocks my view? That there might be a path where the poem gets in my way? And it does surrender itself – doing so in exchange for the attention entrusted to it. This doesn’t mean that it takes time away from me. On the contrary: it gives me time. Poetry goes against (more…)
Opening Address by Federal President Horst Köhler at an event to celebrate 10 years of the ‘lyrikline.org’ Internet platform on 26 October 2009 in the KulturBrauerei Berlin
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’m pleased to be the guest this evening of a small, “radical” minority. I very gladly, and very consciously, accepted your invitation to help celebrate ten years of lyrikline.org.
When asked, from time to time, what I’m responsible for as President, I often say, “for the overall picture”. This is correct, overall, but when one looks more closely at that overall picture one sees that it consists of myriad small pieces.
This is true of society, which is held together by countless different initiatives and groups and by committed people who have noticed that something is missing and have devoted themselves to filling that gap. Our society depends on those who get involved, who get down to work, who make an issue their own.