Every summer Berlin becomes a temple of poetry with about 150 poets and artists from around the world. poesiefestival berlin puts poetry into the spotlight, pioneering new ways of presenting poetry – for example with Weltklang - Night of Poetry, an international panorama of poetry, the Poetry Market with readings, bands and children's program, and with e.poesie which connects poetry and electronic music. This festival is also where artistic directors of poetry festivals come to meet each other.
The Literaturwerkstatt Berlin / Haus für Poesie organizes the festival and gives it a new theme every year, which deals with urgent questions of our times. In 2016 it is Kein schöner Land ('No finer Land'), addressing the issue of how war and flight affect poetry and the use of language.
The festival makes poetry visible and tangible and attracts up to 13.500 visitors each year. It has been held since 2000, and its home since 2008 has been the Academy of Arts in Hanseatenweg 10. It is supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds
How do you cooperate with the Berlin poetry scene?
The Berlin scene is very international, diverse and agile. A new generation is coming to explore poetry in many variations. Young people organize readings, book projects and establish publishing houses. They meet each other to discuss contemporary poetry and their own poems – online and in real life.
The Literaturwerkstatt Berlin / Haus für Poesie brings the scene together – well-established and new talents, national and international poets. We hold poetry debates and projects (like Babelsprech or VERSschmuggel) to support and translate writers.
Because of this diversity, the cooperation with international partner institutions and authors is indispensable. More than 40 partners work for and with lyrikline
, our website for international poetry. Our festival and our regular yearly program present poets from all over the world. And we work together with partners on projects like Literary Europe Live
to get advice, to share and profit by different experiences.
How does your festival work on poetry translations?
For poesiefestival berlin and for most of our readings, translations are essential. On Weltklang – Night of Poetry, the big opening event of the festival, we publish a reader with the translations. The audience can hear the sound and rhythm of the original language and they can follow the content at the same time.
We need the translations to open the door into unknown worlds of languages and cultures. That’s why in 2001 we invented the translation method VERSschmuggel ('verse smuggling'). Poets from two languages work in pairs to translate ('smuggle') each other's original texts into their own languages, supported by literary translators and gloss translations.
This means that a direct exchange takes place, enabling toll-free 'smuggling' of stylistic contexts and poetic traditions. The results of a VERSschmuggel exchange are presented every year on the poesiefestival berlin and appear in a bilingual anthology.