From June 5th to June 11th, Berlin’s poesiefestival will take place already for the 21st time. Instead of canceling or postponing the event due to the lockdown, the organizers went to great lengths to make it happen virtually. And we can all feel lucky that they did, as this festival is a must for everyone with an appreciation for words and a curiosity for foreign languages and cultures.
The poesiefestival Berlin has been a constant source of inspiration for Berlin’s literary landscape since 2000. This year, its organizers were forced to restructure the program, but many event formats known from previous editions are still going to take place, including the opening event Weltklang – Night of Poetry (featuring an international array of poets performing in their native languages), as well as the translation workshop VERSschmuggel/reVERSible.
The concept accompanying this year’s edition of the festival is “Planet P”. The organizers explain: “On Planet P, there is not only poetry – it is the place where we want to engage with what urgently challenges our existence and living together: wars, migration, pandemic and climate crisis.” You can share your own reflections on the topic and be featured on the festival’s social media – find out more here.
The poesiefestival Berlin is a unique chance to witness over 150 writers from 29 countries coming together in a celebration of poetry. But it’s not just about the beauty of words: tackling subjects such as borders, migration, and crises, the festival emphasizes the relevance of poetry in today’s world. There are more than a hundred great opportunities for you to tune in from the comfort of your home, including talks, reading, slams, interviews, and workshops. Some highlights of this year’s program include the video reading and live-chat GRENZE hosted by the International Cities of Refuge Network and the online discussion Digital Revolution and Cultural Memory. Because this edition’s partner country is Canada, some of the events are held in English.
The importance of the festival becomes perhaps even more tangible in times of the pandemic. According to the festival’s organizers: “The ability of poetry to grasp reality with language means that it can speak directly to people and, as an adaptable genre, can react creatively to this crisis.” Indeed, the great variety of events offered by the festival along with their accessibility to everyone with an Internet connection prove that the 21st poesiefestival can become a much-needed creative outlet for all poetry lovers.
Even though the actual festival starts on June 5th, there’s a series of events preceding it which you can experience from May 29th.
Watch the trailer below and check out the entire program of this year’s poesiefestival Berlin!