Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Biographies of the German Poets involved in the Berlin Poetry Night

The Participants: German Poets
Copyright: Photo: Marcus HammerschmittThe poet and writer Uwe Kolbe was born in East Berlin in 1957. After leaving school he met the German author Franz Führmann who was to become his mentor, and it was through Führmann that Kolbe had the opportunity to publish a number of poems. His first book, “Hineingeboren“ (Born into), was published in Weimar. Kolbe’s work was highly controversial and publication of his works was banned in the GDR. As a result of this, Kolbe worked increasingly as a translator of among others, the Spanish author, García Lorcas. As co-editor of the magazine Mikado he was able to circumvent his publication ban and continue to publish his own works. In 1985 Kolbe travelled in Western Europe and was a visiting lecturer at universities in Austin, Texas and Vienna. He moved to Hamburg in 1987 and received many prizes and awards, most recently, the Heinrich Mann Prize from the Academy of the Arts in Berlin in 2012. Between 1997 and 2002 he was head of the studio of literature and theatre at the University of Tübingen. Since then he has returned to live in Berlin and is one of Germany’s most well-known contemporary authors.

Copyright: gezettBrigitte Oleschinski was born in Köln in 1955. She studied Political Science at the Free University in Berlin and worked as a contemporary historian on issues concerning political repression in totalitarian systems. She has worked as a guest lecturer and translator, participated in poetry performances and collaborated on the internet project www.neuedichte.de. Oleschinski has published a poetry collection including “Mental Heat Control“ and “Your Passport is Not Guilty“ and was awarded the Peter Huchel Prize in 1998, the Ernst Meister Prize in 2001 and in 2004 the Erich Fried Prize. From 2003 and 2005, together with Indonesian artists, she performed the poetry performance “Laut Lesung” (According to Reading) in Germany, Indonesia and Mexico. Her poetry collection „Geisterströmung“ was published in 2004. She currently lives in Berlin as a freelance writer.

Copyright: Photo: Tanja KernweißUlrike Almut Sandig was born in 1979 in Großenhain and grew up near Dresden. Together with Marlen Pelny, she set up the literature project “augenpost”. After beginning a degree in journalism, she graduated with a master’s degree in Religious Studies and modern Indian Studies and made extended language study trips to India. Her first poetry collection “Zunder” was published in 2005, followed by “streumen” in 2007, for which Sandig was supported with a residency in Sydney. In 2006 Sandig was awarded the Meran Poetry Prize. Sandig has published poems, prose and radio stories and between 2007 and 2009 she was the editor of the literary magazine EDIT. The Südwestrundfunk radio station broadcast her first radio play “Hush little Baby” in 2008, directed by Robert Schoen. Her second radio play “Unter Wasser”, was broadcast in April 2010 and directed by Judith Lorentz. In 2009 Sandig was awarded the Leonce and Lena Prize. For her collection of stories “Flamingos”, which was published in 2010, Sandig was awarded a scholarship to spend time at the Literarisches Colloquium in Berlin.

Berlin Poetry Night on 14 June

We are delighted to welcome Aurélie Maurin from the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, the German host organisation for the Transit of Venus Poetry Exchange project.

Aurélie will introduce a selection of projects and programmes at the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin. Amongst them is the prestigious Zebra Poetry Film Festival a competition of the best poetry films! Prizes in the competition are awarded to a total value of € 10,000. The winners will be selected by an international jury in Berlin.

The different prize categories are:
– ZEBRA Prize for the Best Poetry Film, donated by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin
– Goethe Film Prize, donated by the Goethe Institute
– Ritter Sport Film Prize, donated by Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co KG
– Audience Prize awarded by the radioeins jury

This year, for the first time, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival will also be making awards for poetry films in the categories Best First Film, Best Film for Tolerance and Best Poem Performance on Film. Children and young people award their own prize: ZEBRINO – the prize for the best film for children and young people. The young viewers will be deciding on the winner of the ZEBRINO award, the best poetry film for eight-to-twelve-year-olds.

Aurélie will present a selection of inspiring poetry films including films from New Zealand. Additionally, we are excited to hear more about the multilingual online poetry portal www.lyrikline.org 

If this is not enough for your lyrical mind, you can look forward to meeting three German poets from Berlin who will read from their work. We look forward to a truly filmic and lyrical Berlin night!

Berlin Poetry Night

Reading, Presentation, Conversation
14 June 2012, 5pm
New Zealand Film Archive Wellington
free entry

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Transit of Venus sparks international transit of poets

Six poets from opposite sides of the globe are meeting for a special once-in-a-lifetime experience next month.

The Transit of Venus Poetry Exchange brings together three German and three New Zealand poets to witness the Transit of Venus on June 6, followed by two public presentations in Wellington, where the poets will talk about the inspiration derived from their transit experiences.

The Transit of Venus is a rare astronomical phenomenon where Venus appears as a small dot gliding across the sun. On June 6, a series of celebrations will be centred at Tolaga Bay on the East Coast, where Captain James Cook anchored after witnessing this event in Tahiti in 1769.

The German poets visiting New Zealand are Uwe Kolbe, Brigitte Oleschinski and Ulrike Almut Sandig and will work alongside New Zealand poets Hinemoana Baker, Glenn Colquhoun and Chris Price in Tolaga Bay.

After the Transit, the group will head to Wellington to take part in creative workshops at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

New Zealand host and International Institute of Modern Letters chair Professor Bill Manhire says the poets’ visit offers a unique opportunity for an international exchange of language and culture.

“Poets have always gazed up at the stars, and it will be fascinating to watch how these creative minds spark off each other and to see how an event like the Transit of Venus inspires their work.”

In October the New Zealand poets complete the exchange by travelling to Berlin to meet up with their German counterparts and to reinterpret each other’s work with the help of translators in a unique cultural exchange.

The poets will then travel to Frankfurt to take part in a programme showcasing New Zealand’s literary and artistic endeavours as part of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where New Zealand is this year’s Guest of Honour.

The exchange is being organised by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Goethe-Institut New Zealand with funding support from the German Foreign Office, the Berlin Literaturwerkstatt and Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

Goethe-Institut director Bettina Senff said she was proud to be involved in such a creative endeavour that is not only of historical significance but would also highlight the talents of both countries’ poets.

Media and the public are invited to two public presentations in Wellington:

Passages: Reading around the Transit

Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University, Wellington Wednesday 13 June 2012 6pm Free entry A panel discussion with readings: German and New Zealand poets respond to the Transit of Venus 2012 celebrations at Tolaga Bay, exploring the process of writing about this extraordinary astronomical phenomenon

Berlin Poetry Night

New Zealand Film Archive, Ghuznee St, Wellington Thursday 14 June 2012 5pm Free entry Listen to the poets from Berlin and to Aurélie Maurin from the Berlin Literaturwerkstatt introducing the ZEBRA poetry film award and the online poetry project LYRIKLINE.

For more information contact:

Lucy Orbell, Communications Adviser, Ministry for Culture and Heritage
04 496 6176
027 6222 774

Bill Manhire, International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University
04 463 6808

Bettina Senff
Goethe-Institut New Zealand
04 385 6924