Over the past few years, a series of poetry events have helped generate growing interest in Germany’s poetry scene. For the very first time in 2017, for example, the Leipzig Book Fair Prize was awarded to a poet, Jan Wagner, who also received Germany’s most prestigious literature prize in that same year, the Büchner-Preis of the German Academy for Language and Literature. It is a sign that poetry continues to gain acceptance as an autonomous artistic area. A positive, but still largely unappreciated development is the recent arrival of a younger generation of poets, inspired by poetry slams, hip-hop, performance art and digitalisation, who have rediscovered poetry and recoded it in subcultural circles. Others are exploring relationships and crossovers to New Music and the fine arts, providing proof of the cross-genre potential for development of contemporary poetry. Despite these successes, poets, their publishers and event organisers still find it relatively difficult to establish themselves in the cultural sector and fight against economic marginalisation. Most poets have no choice but to organise their activities themselves, especially when it comes to publishing and distribution. This festival congress has highlighted impulses from the poetry scene and its networks, and created a broad international platform to help poets and poetry translators network and forge contacts with sponsors, cultural policymakers, mediators (event organisers, critics), educational institutions (schools, universities) and the book market (publication, distribution). By enlisting Tristan Marquardt and Monika Rinck as its artistic directors, the festival congress had found two curators who are optimally acquainted with the protagonists, diverse scenes, their needs and desiderata, and developed scenarios suited to improving the situation. The artistic accompanying programme highlighted a variety of possibilities for presenting poetry.
The combination of a congress and festival promises to consolidate poetry in the cultural landscape in the long term and, at the same time, finally ensure that poetry receives its due recognition as one of the most innovative art forms of our day.
Artistic directors: Monika Rinck, Tristan Marquardt
Evangelische Akademie Frankfurt, Frankfurter Salon, Haus am Dom, jugend-kultur-kirche sankt peter, Mousonturm, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst | Frankfurt am Main