Thursday, 28 April 2011

Berliners, Unite in Poetry!

The German verb dichten is rather tricky to translate in a pithy way. It means "to write poetry" but it also has a slight ring of plumbing about it, meaning "to seal" as well. Dictionaries will also offer you "versify" but it's not quite that pretentious, or at least it doesn't feel that way to me.

So it's hard to tell you the name of this exciting project being run by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin: Berliner, dichtet Berlin! Celebrating twenty years of the institution, they've launched a great big jamboree of everyman versifying. Here's what they say:

Berlin, a city of many towns, is giving itself the gift of a poem. Written by the people for the people, a poetic saunter through the boroughs, from the margins all the way to the centre. The Literaturwerkstatt Berlin invites interested Berliners of any age and origin to take part in this project in their own borough. The participants have the opportunity to work on the poem with an experienced poet in a writing workshop. The focus should be on the borough itself, its history and unique characteristics.
The finished texts will be linked into one long poem at the end of June, with 100 lines per borough, twelve equal parts making up a single entity in many voices.

Now doesn't that sound fantastic? I was inspired to knock out a personal ode to my borough. No need to take it terribly seriously.

Mitte Mark II, three uncomfortable bedfellows.
One nondescript and drab,
What people call authentic.
One full of bling and arabesque,
Round the back grubby pubs and shoes five euro a pair.
One sprouting unsightly boils in the shape of private schools,
caused by fear and loathing of the other two.

No comments: