University of Cologne, Aula I+II
The seductive sonoric qualities of poems can induce in us a meditation about the world outside solidified rational pathways. Poetic writing opens associative archives, releases whirring voices which interrogate the gaps in history and reconfigure them in relation to our present. For this year's opening event for Poetica 7, nine international authors and one sound artist introduce themselves with short readings and conversations with curator Uljana Wolf, sounding out the overtones and undertones of this year’s festival theme.
»Sounding Archives« can be understood in two ways. If we read »sounding« as an adjective, we imagine poems as »speaking storehouses«, as Thomas Kling put it – linguistic units reverberating with potential pasts. The tonal power of poetic writing reminds us of its beginning in oral tradition, its ability for conjuring, safekeeping, warning and remembering. If we read »sounding« as a verb, then it’s the poems themselves that probe, resist and actively give voice to other archives – maybe to heaps of files, to ancient quipus, or photographs or war. This year’s Poetica explores the ways contemporary poetry worldwide, with lush innovation and fierce resistance, delves into the past and its artefacts.
The evening opens with words of welcome from Axel Freimuth (Cologne University rector), Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen (Minister of Culture and Science, North-Rhine Westphalia) and Andrea Firmenich (General secretary, NRW Endowment of the Arts). Between the authors' readings, Günter Blamberger (initiator of Poetica, University of Cologne) and Ernst Osterkamp (German Academy for Language and Poetry) will read short essays on the festival theme »Sounding Archives – Poetry between Experiment and Document«.
With Svetlana Alexievich (Belarus), Ain Bailey (Great Britain), Don Mee Choi (USA), Yan Jun (China), Mihret Kebede (Ethiopia), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Congo/Austria), Carlos Soto-Román (Chile), Maria Stepanova (Russia), Anja Utler (Germany), Cecilia Vicuña (USA/Chile) and curator Uljana Wolf (Germany). With the actors and musicians Philipp Plessmann, Sophia Burtscher and Katharina Schmalenberg.
The event will be held both in German and in English.
Admission is free.
The access regulations and hygiene concepts of the respective venues apply (wearing a FFP2 or medical mask is mandatory).
The evening will be recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur as media partner. The broadcast (in an shortened version) is scheduled for June 5, starting at 10 p.m.