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Speech of Lebogang Mashile at the Opening of 10 years of festivities

Posted in about us, Autoren / poets, Lebogang Mashile by Heiko Strunk on 29. October 2009

Eröffnung der Festwoche zu 10 Jahre

26.10.2009  Palais (Kulturbrauerei), Berlin

Mr President, Ms Köhler, Ladies and Gentelmen,
Africa is home to a vibrant and dynamic oral tradition. Before the word was written on paper, it was written on the minds, hearts and memories of human beings. Oral tradition, or living language, has been used to record genealogy, movement patterns, wars, significant events, and scientific information for millennia.  Texts travel from person to person through time and space. Memory serves as both the page and the archive. Each human being who is in possession of stories, poems, and songs about their people is a living library. Therefore human life is valuable not just in and of itself, but also as a storehouse for knowledge that has been passed down for generations.

In South Africa, where I come from, every African family has what is referred to as an isithakazelo in isiZulu. This family poem is a source of immense pride and is perceived as an invaluable cultural heirloom. Children are taught how to say their family praise poem from an early age. This poem is (more…)

Speech of Monika Rinck: The truth about poetry

Posted in Autoren / poets, Monika Rinck by Heiko Strunk on 29. October 2009

Speech of Monika Rinck, Festivities for 10 years of
26.10.2009, Palais (Kulturbrauerei) Berlin


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…)