the enduring interest in poetry is a good sign! In an era of an inflationary exchange of text-messages, many people obviously still enjoy reading texts that have been meticulously and thoughtfully composed and whose consumption requires utmost concentration.
Poetry demands extreme precision – when writing it and when reading it. An entire universe may emerge from a few lines, if the reader is willing to give him- or herself over to the verses, if the reader studies them calmly, reflects upon them, and approaches them repeatedly with new questions.
Now, as many people are coming to us who need to learn German in order to live here more comfortably, we become especially cognizant of the fact that language is an indispensable instrument for exchange and for knowledge. How visionary ›poetry on the road‹ was right from beginning, becomes evident today more than ever: During this Festival, poets and readers from many nations and languages come together here, in order to enjoy literature. Each text is first presented in its original language and then is read in a German translation. This process cultivates our hearing for the particular sound and rhythm of the poems native language, but also makes us curious to hear the meaning of those words.
The organizers have always succeeded in bringing famous artists to Bremen, alongside voices that are well worth discovering. This year, they have invited 34 artists from around the world. Among them are Connie Palmen from the Netherlands, Reiner Kunze, the group of authors and musicians known as FÖN, the great Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, Simon Armitage from England, Ulrike Almut Sanding from Germany, Hinemoana Baker from New Zealand and this year’s winner of the Peter-Huchel Prize Orsolya Kalász from Hungary. Steadily, the program has been expanded by new forms of presentation – which appears to be successful, as one may see by the interest of young people. This year, an International Poetry-Slam Gala will be held for the first time.
I’d like to extend my great thanks for your commitment and wish you much success!
Your Mayor, Dr. Carsten Sieling
President of the Senate, Senator for Cultural Affairs