Festival for World Literature
Jan. 9–14, 2017 – Cologne

›The Soul and Its Languages‹

Does the soul lie in the brain, the heart, the breath, the nerves? The Stoics thought it was an octopus, while ancient physicians attested to its paradoxical composition: It was supposedly comprised of the dampest fire and the driest water. If one wants to speak of the soul, if one wants to get something off one’s chest, one must first change one’s language. That much is certain. The soul is—psychoanalysis has taught us—first and foremost a figure of speech. In the pathologies of the present day, one often encounters the soul merely as an indefinite site of illness. There, mental illnesses appear as negative definitions of the soul itself.

The soul—maybe it presents itself exactly where it is missing. Could it thus be—speaking with Immanuel Kant—a regulative idea which, by definition, cannot find a fixed representation? One may gladly inquire about the soul, but can one also talk about it? This is where poetry comes into play.

›The Soul and Its Languages‹ is the motto of Poetica III, the third Festival for World Literature, hosted by the Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies, in cooperation with the German Academy for Language and Literature, in Cologne, from January 9–14, 2017. German poet and essayist Monika Rinck is the curator of Poetica III. She has invited authors from four continents and nine countries to approach the topic of ›the soul‹—each in their own way, during afternoon panel discussions and evening readings, where the art of language, voice, breath, rhythm, and animation become embodied in the event of the poem. Poetica III will take place at different venues throughout Cologne: at the University of Cologne, the public library, the Literaturhaus, the Sancta-Clara-Cellar, the Cologne Theater, and the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. All events are open to the public.

The following authors have been invited to Poetica III: Javier Bello from Chile, Michael Donhauser from Austria, Nurduran Duman from Turkey, Maricela Guerrero from Mexico, Gila Lustiger from Germany/France, Angelika Meier from Germany, Zeruya Shalev from Israel, Eleni Sikelianos from the USA, Galsan Tschinag from Mongolia, Stefan Weidner from Germany, the musicians Musiker Chris Fesch, Michael Schmidt, and Franz Tröger, as well as Lorenz Wilkens, scholar of religious studies.