24 February 2010

last year's winners: der lyrikerempfang 2009 im roten rathaus zu berlin

last night i attended an event called lyrikpreisträger 2009 in berlin's red town hall. the event was organized by the berlin literaturwerkstatt and, lucky you, i took a bunch of notes there. they might explain why i left halfway through.

1000 Preise für Prosa, 6 für Lyrik

thomas wohlfahrt, the head of the berlin literaturwerkstatt, claimed there are only awarded six prizes for poetry in germany every year. i am not sure exactly why only six, as prizes like the bi-annual dresdner lyrikpreis or the annual clemens-brentano-preis obviously didn't make it onto his list (Open Mike, Georg-Trakl-Preis, Peter-Huchel-Preis, Poesiepreis des Kulturkreises der deutschen Wirtschaft, Leonce-und-Lena-Preis, Ernst-Jandl-Preis).

lyrik braucht einen anders gearteten medialen auftritt (stimme?) "lyrik hat ihre sozialen orte verloren"
monika rink was quoted: "schluss mit den grabreden auf die lyrik!"

now, this is interesting. i wonder why nobody thought of the internet as an outlet for poetry. but it really is not just the web; i found this very interesting article on the maths of poetry the other day. david alpaugh claims that all in all, "approximately 86 million poems will be published in the 21st century" - now that's something, no?

then konstantin ames, the winner of 2009's open mike and a graduate of the dubious poetry hit factory of the deutsche literaturinstitut leipzig, read a couple of not-so-great lines like "sieht (...) noch nicht das loch im kopf stein pflaster" and used a couple of the obligatory words in contemporary german literature: "pisse, kot, nackt, urin, bang" sigh.

next was barbara köhler who must have tricked someone into thinking she can write impressed the experts very much. in the 1980s, she, too, had studied at the DLL. her first words on stage were "der text, den ich lese, ist nicht 'mal lyrik" and they were a huge turn-off. she started reading some incoherent words prose and in the light of the current debate on plagiarism here in germany, i was bothered by her book's title "niemands frau" which i previously knew both as a song by anouk of 1997 and a manuscript by jack kerouac's second wife, joan kerouac. also, barbara's delivery looked and sounded a lot like bas böttcher's (only much staler) and that didn't go down well with me, either. her best words were interferenz, wellen, löschen (two of the three previously known from, for example, hendrik jackson's perfect (!) poem rauschen). and for all that confusion brilliance the kulturkreis der deutschen wirtschaft awarded her 10.000 euros. wow.

finally, michael donhauser from switzerland, the winner of the georg trakl prize, read. i was relieved: he was by far the best poet, dressed much better than the previous two, and read much more clearly. i didn't mind him talking about fruit trees, nor his sparkling necklace, and i liked his rather corny choice of words: nacht, traum, verglimmen, tränen he read great, grown-up poetry that evaded kitsch yet still produced some credible emotion.

after donhauser everybody was thirsty and bored, and there should have been a break, but instead some musician continued right on. so when ferdinand schmatz, the winner of the ernst jandl prize, finished reading, i left. he had started off well, a little more experimental than donhauser, but seemed to lose track in the middle of his first poem somewhere: schall, nesseln, näselnde asseln - stampft her ins gestiefelte ... i just stampfed home.

6 comments:

yvo said...

was it not possible taking the champaign earlier and drinking a hole bottle while listening to the artist? then, papierkügelchen in the face of the poets are always helpful!
i think, just because of the poems, i would never move to berlin - i got the web!
thanx, anina:-)

Anonymous said...

dankeschön.es ist immer unglaublich beruhigend zu hören, dass das wasser in diesen kreisen genau so brackig ist, wie in allen anderen. ich freu mich schon drauf mal mit dir ne lesung in berlin zu besuchen.

nur das beste
ky

Anonymous said...

barbara köhler didn't study at the leipzig "DLL" - in the eighties of the last century there was no DLL, but notorious johannes r. -becher-institute. surely you just overread this while looking for information about DLL.
dresdner lyrikpreis winner 2008 christian futscher was among the invited authors last year - when the same procedure took place. sylvie.

annina said...

hi sylvie, thanks for your comment! barbara köhler was introduced as a graduate of the "preform" of the DLL that evening - I should have been more specific, you're right. thanks for correcting.

Anonymous said...

nevermind! i think dll students have to cope with so many preconceptions, true or not-so-true, that it's good to be close to the "facts" where one can be close. but i enjoyed reading about your visit! so long, sylvie.

Anonymous said...

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Keep up the excellent work!