With our previous guides about the cultural contributions of Brazilian, Syrian, and Vietnamese creative people living in Berlin (and many others) we have already shed some light on the benefits of living in a city that embraces its international community. With this new feature, we are drawing a wider circle by highlighting some extraordinary talents from Europe’s black diaspora that will come together these days for the poesiefestival Berlin.
In a time like now, it becomes abundantly clear that we urgently need to listen more to Black voices. And what better voices to listen to, than those of poets and thinkers. The online edition of the 21st poesiefestival in Berlin that will be celebrating its opening night today has a beautifully diverse program with talents from all around the world. But one event has especially caught our attention.
Congolese poet Fiston Mwanza Mujila has been mapping the poetry of poets of African origin in Europe for some time now, as he found that black poets are not represented enough in the European poetry circuit. He found a lot of powerful texts that need to be heard, experiences from Africa and Europe that need to be shared. For the event “Unheard Poetry: Europe’s Black Diaspora” he is bringing some of the Black poets he found together, and I think it’s really important we listen to them.
In this feature, we want to introduce you to the talented Black poets that will present their work in this special event, as well as a few other events from the program of the festival. With each poet, we included a link to the event they participate in where you can watch the live stream, or a recording later on. Now it’s up to you, to listen.
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.
Probably the most dreaded characteristic of Berlin is its continental climate – especially the ruthless winters. It feels like many expats would happily switch from a full-time residency to summer guest appearances – but as avowed Berliners, we have a bunch of strategies to cope with the cold and make sure you enjoy our beautiful Hauptstadt all year round. Read on to find out what keeps us warm and entertained!
photo: Franz Becker
From a bird’s-eye view you’re watching, wondering what life might bring
The city’s sleeping in a cloud – summer came by and got right out
What are they dreaming, these sleeping heads, lying in their tiny beds?
Is that a smile upon their face, looking forward to another day?
From the rooftop you see the couple brushing their teeth
The older lady with a cat and a book on her knees
The manager about to work, the party people still up with a smirk
The student studying for an exam, the musician playing a joyful jam
They all are living in this house, this backyard, this street
And somewhere you can still hear a beat…
Today we have a very special piece for you that was submitted to us by one of our lovely readers. It’s a poem about the so-called Berlin Broken Hearts Club and it pretty much sums up the fate of many lost hearts in the city. We love the humorous approach to it, because what else are we gonna do than take it light and mend our broken hearts with a good laugh about our miserable selves. Welcome to the Berlin Broken Hearts Club, you lovely single girls and boys!
Normal. What is that? A word, whose meaning is different to everyone. It includes and excludes. Everything that is different, not normal, should change. To become normal. Therefore, we strive to be different. Better, more beautiful, richer. Individual. Different, not like the others. In a word, normal.
Because if we are all equal, nobody is special anymore. But if everybody is special, then everybody is equal. We want to be special, but we want to be treated normally. We want to love and be loved. We want to live. We want health, comfort, happiness. And at least a smile each day.
My friend Anna and I have always enjoyed working together on collages or photos. She is the kind of friend who I confide in more than anyone else and through our work together we share things we don’t tell other people. Since she is more into writing and I am more into taking pictures, we wanted to combine these preferences in a short film this time. Having the same taste when it comes to Sofia Coppola films, Haruki Murakami stories or the philosophy of the Little Prince we wanted the film to convey a feeling somewhere between the songs of The xx and Lost in Translation, but with a Berlin tonality or in other words in our personal way of course.