Postsoviet Cosmopolis – Poetry Night. With Semjon Hanin, Volha Hapeyeva, Eugenijus Ališanka

22. internationales literaturfestival berlin [© Hartwig Klappert]
22. internationales literaturfestival berlin [© Hartwig Klappert]

Four poets read from their current poetry collections. Actors will read the German translations, followed by a short conversation with the curator and moderator of the evening: Karolina Golimowska.

Semjon Hanin is a founding member of Orbita, a collective of Russian-speaking poets and artists from Latvia that experiments with unconventional, including multimedia, poetry formats. In his volume of poems »aber nicht damit« [German translator: Anja Utler], he pointedly confronts absurdities and subtleties of a sometimes surreal and grotesque everyday life with major themes such as freedom, deception, or loyalty. This is also reflected on the level of language, which playfully deals with alliterations and associations and mixes registers with ease.

In »Mutantengarten« Volha Hapeyeva looks at politics and history from a decidedly female perspective. She translates letters of fallen soldiers and sensually captures the body »as a medium of interpersonal relationships, which she dissects with sharp precision« [NZZ]. Hapeyeva, who now lives in exile in Germany, writes about the many interpretations of homeland and about language that can teach people empathy through poetry, especially in times of crisis. »der mund ist eine art linguistischer schuh / unter den tagtäglich tausende wörter geraten / so steigst du hinauf – immerzu / bezwingst den berg der sprache« [tr: the mouth is a kind of linguistic shoe / under which thousands of words get caught every day / so you climb up – all the time / conquering the mountain of language].

In the latest poems of Lithuanian poet Eugenijus Ališanka, objects become witnesses of human transience, untouched by everyday fears and uncertainties about the world order. A poem becomes a constant companion, a way of life, a possibility to speak up in most difficult moments, an opportunity not to lose one’s own voice, sense of irony and, above all, self-distance.

Moderation: Karolina Golimowska
Speakers: Alexandra Gottschlich, Toni Jessen

A cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence »Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective« at Freie Universität Berlin