30 March 2010

three events in berlin and toronto this week

in BERLIN, there are two readings this week: there's another interesting KOOKread event on

thu, 01 april 2010, 8 pm, kvartira no. 62, lübbener str. 18, 10997 berlin - kreuzberg, ?€

annika scheffel, björn kern and ron winkler will be introducing their new books. more info here.

and then there's philip sington reading from his recent novel "The Einstein Girl" at st. george's bookshop in prenzlauer berg.

wed, 31 march 2010, 9 pm, st. george's bookshop, woerther str. 27, 10405 berlin, no cover charge.

in TORONTO the BARRACUDA anthology celebrates its launch. (a cool writers-in-school program, more info here!) 

wed, 31 march 2010, 7 - 9 pm, gardiner museum, 11 queens park, toronto (ontario), no cover charge.

29 March 2010

i'm in the new lauter niemand

in my mail today i received three voucher copies of the current lauter niemand 10th anniversary edition. i've been featured with a long poem i wrote in 2007 called "tanz aus narkose", alongside people like johann reißer and monika rinck.

i dug out the last paragraph of an older version of that poem for you:

ich in tüll laken lackkleid nag am fensterrahmen bricht licht in triangelstrahlen staub wendet sich blendet und ich urban es urbakterium will unter wasser ober flächen molekül sein mir von dir mit spitzen lippen zeigen lassen wie die fische machen algen mähen zwischen heiligen korallen mit dir fieberpirouetten drehen in tiefsee kissengraben sinken auferstehen als dampf noch einmal durch die nacht als regen wieder niedergehen...

[very, very roughly, this could be something like:

i in tulle sheets varnish dress gnaw on the window frame breaks light in triangle rays dust turns blinds and i urban it ur-bacterium wanna be under water over surface molecule wanna be taught by you with lips pursed how the fish make mow algae inbetween holy corals dance fever pirouettes with you sink into deep sea pillow trenches resurge through the night once more as steam once more as rain alight...]

28 March 2010

one of last year's poems reworked

wir haben ein sternbild gesehen:
da endet die welt und die faust die
die kabel an die unser leben gerät
hält ist männlich . man war
fünfmarkstückgroß in eine wand
genagt für ratten die leitung
um leitung gekannt hatten abfall
als kunst in die sphären gehoben .
weit hinten verriet uns ein unruhiges
mädchen geheimnisse über das irdischsein .

[rough translation:

we'd seen a constellation:
there ends the world and the fist
that's been holding the cables that 
sustain our lives has been male . 
one was a hole chewed into some wall
five deutschmarks wide for rats
who knew the wires praised all 
rubbish into highest spheres .
at the very back an anxious girl
gave away secrets on being terrestrial .]

27 March 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

26 March 2010

two readings, one review, and my big mouth

this week, i went to two readings: alistair's and peter's, and the one alexander gumz organised for the launch of his and moritz schramm's ny tysk poesi anthology (arena verlag, kopenhagen, 2009). both were good events and sold out deservedly so.

dialogue berlin provided a great venue, and its owner sharmaine was a great hostess - i'm sure we'll be hearing much more about her events and initiatives soon. i always enjoy literary events in english, as the authors and audience tend to not take themselves as seriously as most germans: a little more fun, a little less intellectual masturbation... which takes me right to the reading on wednesday:

like i said before, the line-up was impressive - and its proximity to KOOKbooks undeniable. one gets the impression that alexander gumz has a couple of people on his speed dial that he rings up whenever reading slots need to be filled. while this is understandable, i would have loved to hear people like raphael urweider or nico bleutge read for a change, poets that are also featured in the anthology, but that you don't hear of as much.

highlights of the reading included:

"oh, danke, nacht, geh heim nach finnland"  ["oh, thank you, night, go home to finland"] - steffen popp
"dein kanarienvogel sah heute so seltsam aus" ["your canary looked somewhat strange today"] - daniel falb
"schön wäre ein regen nach oben" ["i'd like an upward rain"] - ron winkler

free poetry reading in hamburg tomorrow

tom schulz, gerald fiebig, richard duraj, and jinn pogy will be reading to celebrate the brand new edition of randnummer magazine tomorrow:

sat, 27 march, 8 pm, POW galerie, haubachstr. 7a, hamburg - free of charge!

24 March 2010


WORDS ON A WATCH turns three today, and for me that means party introspection: how has the internet changed the way we writers work? as this is quite a complicated question, i'm glad sibylle berg has already answered it generally here, so i'll be ok to just speak for myself:

to me, the internet is

...a space to express myself in a myriad of ways, to get active and launch projects like the #50bookschallenge or girls can blog
...my very own trade fair - networking through facebook and twitter has never been easier than today. i've just started sorting the people i follow into lists, perhaps they're of use to you, too? 
...my mobile notebook-anthology-brain-hard drive-event calendar-desk-gallery. to me, the web is a very visual place that i like to hang out in
...a motivator to get things done. as is my readership. i think that if your number hadn't gone up steadily over time, i would have given up long ago
...an ideal place for feedback. both incoming (examples here, here, and there) and outgoing (like here by myself and here by guest commentator oliver bottini). i love feedback and guest articles, so please keep them coming!
...an ideal place for announcements, too, like here and here.*

basically, WOAW is still a personal poetry blog, thick with opinion. if you're here for my poems only and never know where to look for them, click here and save that link. the newest poem will always come first. watch out, though, not all of them are ready for press just yet; from time to time i put up stuff just because i was so glad i had written anything at all. my writing periods are usually intense, as is my current writer's block. i don't have control over either.

i was going to go into last year's WOAW birthday speech a little more, but when i just read it, it sounded awfully negative. i think i was in a pretty bad place then and am very glad that i could move on from there in the second half of 2009. i went on said literary journey to zagreb, spoke to an agent (only to find out my novella was too short for publication still), and got published in important media like lyrikmail. i wonder what 2010 has up its sleeve...

thanks in any case for sticking around!

*it seems like i forgot to annouce that i got published in the current edition of [sic] magazine? oops!

23 March 2010

it's reading week

besides the poetry reading on wednesday i recommended yesterday, there's also sibylle lewitscharoff discussing adolph freiherr knigge's work in charlottenburg:  

wed, 24 march 2010, 8 pm, literaturhaus berlin - großer saal

more info at the literaturhaus berlin.

and for everyone who doesn't feel like going to alistair noon's poetry reading on thursday, try fadi saad in berlin - wedding. his reading will take place at the medienhof, a project i freelance with, and it was organised by the kids we teach; the cover charge is only 1 €, and money is generally appreciated there as funding is hard to find even for established organisations like this one. (more info on fadi's book at herder verlag. photo by rebecca @ DIE FREIE LANZE.)

thu, 25 march 2010, 6 pm, medienhof wedding, prinzenallee 25/ 26, 3. hof

22 March 2010

THE poetry reading this week

the poetry event this week (besides peter riley's and alistair noon's reading on thursday) will be taking place on

wed, 24 march 2010, 7.30 pm, methfesselstr. 23-25, 10965 berlin - kreuzberg, ca. 5€

ann cotten, daniel falb, steffen popp, monika rinck, and ron winkler will be reading from their work to celebrate the launch of a bi-lingual danish anthology of german contemporary poetry: Ny tysk poesi - 13 tyske lyrikere, alexander gumz & moritz schramm (hrsg.), arena verlag, kopenhagen 2009.

21 March 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

20 March 2010

siri hustvedt tv documentary

tomorrow, 21 march 2010, arte will be airing a siri hustvedt documentary at 5 pm. more info and rerun times here. (via bluetenleser)

19 March 2010

recent work by michael donhauser [WOAW exclusive!]

as a reaction to my post on the lyrikerempfang at berlin's red city hall, michael donhauser was not only nice enough to get in touch and thank me for my words, but in fact he sent me the prose-poems he read that night! i am overjoyed to be able to present to you my favourite one - they aren't available anywhere else on the web, so guess how honoured i feel?

if you like the one below, read another poem by michael donhauser called "Dich noch und" at urs engeler editor.
(photo by ute schendel)

Anfänglich erst neigten sich die Rosen, da die Dahlien standen, sich entblätterten die Zweige, dass in Farben stieg, was sommerlich spät war und warm noch ein Weichen, als wäre, da zogen wie Vögel die Schatten, ein Wiegen das Bleiben und leise im Laub, wenn es sank, wenn sich füllten mit Röte, gelblich die Birnen wie Äpfel oder lagen im Gras, gärend unter der gelichteten Krone, da ein Wind hob nicht und brach kaum und einzeln nur wanken liess und lose eine Ranke, eine Wicke am rostenden Zaun. 
(copyright by michael donhauser)

17 March 2010

rené hamann poetry reading: the highlights

"entmüdungsbecken"  [de-tiredation pool]
"subroutine"  [sub-routine]
"der anschlagende blick"  [the assaulting look]
"stadtkrank und faul"  [citysick, bum]

16 March 2010

tonight: rené hamann poetry reading

rené hamann, one of my favorite berlin poets, will be reading from his recent poetry collection "Berge und Täler, davon Männer und Frauen" tonight. i'll be there, hoping he won't mind i stole this picture from facebook.... who owns the photo credits, rené?

monarch, skalitzer str. 134, 10999 berlin - kreuzberg, 8.15 pm

15 March 2010

short notice: gerald stern poetry reading tonight!

famous american poet gerald stern and his translator thomas pletzinger will be reading from stern's new poetry collection Alles brennt tonight.

adler & söhne - supernova, stargarderstr. 24, berlin - prenzlauer berg, 8 pm

10 March 2010

poetry and politics: nigeria

my friend okey uzoechina from nigeria wrote a poem dedicated to the innocent victims of the recent ethno-religious crises in the country: "November 2009, January 2010, March 2010, and the ones yet to come". 

i am publishing it not because okey and i went to uni together, but because his poem is inspired by lacks of effective state politics and their resulting in death and destruction. i am not even going to get started on inter-religious dialogue here - it's just all so sad!

i am ashamed to admit that up to today i was completely unaware of nigerian poetry and that the great majority of it seems to be inspired by politics. award winners remi raji (who writes in english) and wole soyinka (first african winner of the nobel prize in literature in 1986, editor of the praised anthology Poems of Black Africa) seem to be good further references if you're interested.

in any case, i'd like to thank okey for choosing poetry as one of his ways of working against violence. 


Sacred sires of two great nations
Hostile brothers of long consanguine connexion
Turned uneasy neighbours by sinister suspicion
Tell me, will their wars of vengeance ever cease?

Each takes a different direction
In its quest for the soul’s salvation
Yet both declare for the same destination
Tell me, which will enter the Pearly Gates?

They preach peace and love to all creation
And give opium-soaked minds camouflage consolation
As crimes and wars increase by multiplication
Tell me, wherein lies such gross hypocrisy?

When they partake in political communion
They cross swords with fanatical aggression
Like fiery fiends stirred to destruction
Tell me, does atrocity justify a crown of conquest?

They attract mammoth congregations
With cosy creeds of true redemption
But which will serve the divine intention—

The Cross or the Crescent?

09 March 2010

martin suter tries a whole new position

via a friend i got a ticket for yesterday night's martin suter book premiere of Der Koch at the sold-out babylon cinema in berlin mitte. all i knew about martin was that one of his kids choked on a bite of sausage and that he was swiss. the woman next to me said his best book was Die dunkle Seite des Mondes (indeed a reference to pink floyd's dark side of the moon), in which some yuppie guy starts eating magic mushrooms. because there were so many people at the reading, the host asked the audience to abstain from making martin write too long a dedication at the book-signing afterwards. wow. and because of bad lighting, it took martin a while to figure out how best to hold his book in order to see properly and not blind the audience with his reading lamp. "hang on", he said, "i'm going to try a whole new position". i might be mistaken here, but i think that was his best sentence of the night. runner-ups from his novel: "her good looks not only helped her find a job, they also gave her a hard time keeping it." and "[there they sat,] all with their tall, thin, blond second wives." ha.

the novel itself still came across as an erotic cookbook, though, sprinkled with some flakes of international politics. and while i liked how wide parts of it were open-minded and well-written, and also the fact that martin read with a thick swiss accent that reminded me of home, i couldn't refrain from leaving the hall halfway through. oops.

08 March 2010

facebook knows which german publishing houses we love

leander wattig of was mit büchern ranked the german publishing houses who have fan pages on facebook by the number of their fans:

winner (1200 fans as of 7 march 2010): Residenz Verlag
loser (3 fans as of 7 march 2010): W. Bertelsmann Verlag

07 March 2010

another event: annika reich prose reading

annika reich is a friend of mine's cousin who has just published her second book, Durch den Wind, with Hanser. her first one is called Teflon and was published with Suhrkamp. i haven't read either, of course, as i barely read anything, really (as it is, i am behind on my own 50 books challenge!), but i suppose that my friend would not trick me into recommending something bad. so, if you're free that night, try annika on

thu, 11 march 2010, 8 pm, roter salon/ volksbühne, berlin - prenzlauer berg, 6€
(photo source: private)

05 March 2010

poetry reading: peter riley and alistair noon

according to alistair noon's event description, ...

Peter Riley is widely regarded as one of the most important British poets writing today. Born in 1940 near Manchester, he has published books of poetry with, among others, Carcanet and Shearsman, most recently Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009). His work has been described as “an extraordinary poetry, one which takes the techniques of modernism to almost a certain limit, yet retains the entire lyric and emotional intensity of the English tradition” (Mark Scroggins). As well as poetry, he has written studies of improvised music, lead mines, burial mounds and Transylvanian string bands.

alistair himself will be reading as well, namely ...

from his latest chapbook, In People’s Park, as well as from forthcoming publications. Founder of Poetry Hearings, Berlin’s annual English-language poetry festival, he has played an active role in the Anglophone literary scene of the city over the last few years. “I don't know any poet who flies about so carefreely, never alighting in the pigeonhole for long enough to become ringed” (Giles Goodland).

thu, 25 march 2010, 7 pm, the t room, christinenstr. 27, berlin - prenzlauer berg,  5€
please RSVP to events (at) dialogueberlin.com

girls can blog!

after thinking about the girls on the web issue a little harder, i decided to initiate GIRLS CAN BLOG, a whole blog dedicated to female activity online. actually, i wonder why i hadn't come up with the idea earlier on - as some of you might know, i wrote my M.A. thesis on 'cyberactivism and the female-led anti-war movement' back in 2008 already, and should have known that this here was an issue. better late than never, though! (please keep in mind that i've only just started - there will be much more to see for you in the coming weeks...)

02 March 2010

heute neu: lyrikkritik-radio

heute, 02.03.10, 22.00 uhr, über lyrikkritik.de:
Gespräch mit dem Lyriker Steffen Popp über die lange Kunst der Vorbereitung – Gedanken zu den Zielen von Yoga und Lyrik

09.03.10, 22.00 uhr, – Christian Filips über Paolo Pasolini und die Kunst des Mittelhochdeutschen in neuzeitlichen Übersetzungen

16.03.10, 22.00 uhr–Rosemarie Tietze über die Neuübersetzung von Anna Karenina und Lew Tolstojs Beziehung zu Gedichten
(text via lyrikkritik.de)

girls on the web: who are the must-reads?

via nadine lantzsch's thoughts on the matter, i stumbled across kontextschmiede's contribution to the current debate on the amount of actual influence female bloggers are exerting on today's society. i would like to seize the opportunity and raise awareness of the fact that the majority of bloggers featured on the blog charts (both german and international) have been male - just like most managers in most organizations. thus, in order to promote your favorite female bloggers, please feel free to add their link to this post's comment section - i'd love to host an international collection. should you need some inspiration, try blogtrepeneur's list of 100 must read blogs by women for a start.

01 March 2010

i got hegemann-ed!

stephan reich, a reader of this blog, remixed a poem of mine:

und wenn ich dich nie

wieder sehe nie finde

ich frieden seither ich

dich misse was macht das

noch dass ich dich aus

diesem bett nicht

heraus & vergessen kann

nachts wenn am bahn

steig der wind &

dein haar mir den schlaf

nimmt wo einmal etwas

war keine hand so warm wie

im schnee deine an gleisen

zurück bis zu dir steht´s in

spuren im frost hast du mich

bereisen & wegweisen

können was tut´s das du

fehlst & die bahn dann

dein bild in der scheibe

manchmal keine hand

breit mehr weiter der

menschen leergelebte

gesichter die finger in hosen

taschen geborgen ich

erinnerte dich & stehe &

gehe alleine was macht

wohl die eine was macht das

jetzt noch?

i feel very flattered. thanks, stephan!