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The festival of poetry under the motto no one is an island will take place from 9 to 16 June at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg. It presents international contemporary poetry in its entire spectrum, as over 100 international artists are participating.

For the 24th time, Berlin will be transformed into the capital of poetry at the poesiefestival berlin of the Haus für Poesie, with and in the Berlin Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg.

no one is an island.

No one is an island: we are all interrelated and interdependent. This makes it all the more important to find a way to live together and speak together. Poetry connects: It is polyphonic, opens up resonance spaces, networks and forms communities.

This poetic togetherness is to be celebrated together at the poesiefestival berlin: Performances, poetry talks, readings, workshops and artistic interventions invite you to let yourself be touched by language and sound and to get in touch.

The festival will open with Weltklang - Night of Poetry, a sound experience of international poetry. All poets read in their original language; the audience can read along in German or English.
  • This year, Arooj Aftab (PAK), Takako Arai (JAP), Radna Fabias (NL), Meena Kandasamy (IND), Zaffar Kunial (GB) and Julian Talamantez Brolaski (USA) will read and perform.
The Berlin Poetry 2023 speech will be given by Kim Hyesoon (KOR). In "Tongueless Mother Tongue", Hyesoon reflects on personal experiences and thinks about the consequences of censorship for language, among other things. She explores the interstices of poetic voices - between I and Dus, the living and the dead, memories and dreams.

On three major evenings, poets from Afghanistan, Botswana, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Syria and Ukraine, among others, will discuss the themes of violence, identity and motherhood:

At Writing Violence, the Afghan poet and activist Ramin Mazhar, the Syrian poet Kholoud Charaf and the German author Yevgeniy Breyger, among others, will read their poems. The evening's haunting texts combine protest, grief, resistance and resilience, and they explore the limits of what can be said.

In Writing Identities, US poets Kemi Alabi, Jos Charles, Julian Talamantez Brolaski and Eileen Myles search for a language for marginalised perspectives and experiences. They radically shift the boundaries of language, question language patterns and the power of interpretation attached to them.

In Writing Motherhood, texts by TJ Dema (BWA), Alice Notley (USA) and Athena Farrokhzad (SWE), among others, process experiences of pregnancy and birth, childlessness, miscarriage and abortion. They ask about the compatibility of poetry and care work and what it means to be a mother and an artist in a world that structurally disadvantages mothers.

On two evenings, spoken word artists from Angola, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany, among others, will examine the political power of language. How much potential does the spoken word still have to shake things up, to trigger, to analyse critically and yet to think utopically?

Within the framework of poetic interventions and numerous poetry talks, Eileen Myles together with Alice Notley, Kemi Alabi with Radna Fabias and Polina Barskova with Maria Stepanova, among others, will be on stage.

In addition, on the opening weekend, 10 and 11 June, 40 poets will read from their works in the Academy's beautiful Buchengarten.

On the Sunday of the festival, 45 independent publishers will present new poetry at the poetry market.

Poetic Education offers an extensive programme of activities for all age groups: further training for poetry teachers, workshops for school classes, readings of young poetry, laughter yoga and much more.

We will also be celebrating the award ceremonies of the national Lyrix competition and the reading and award ceremony of the British Council's We have everything we need writing competition.

Poetry fans can once again explore poetic corners of Berlin in advance at Poets' Corner - Lyrik in den Bezirken. From 4 to 8 June there will be readings with numerous Berlin poets at eleven venues throughout the city.

The poesiefestival berlin has been taking place since 2000 and is the largest of its kind in Europe. Every year it brings around 150 renowned poets and artists from all over the world to Berlin.

The poesiefestival berlin is a project of the Haus für Poesie (House of Poetry) in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts) and is supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital City Cultural Fund) and the Deutsche Literaturfonds e.V. (German Literature Fund) as part of the "Neustart Kultur" programme of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Additional information
June 2023