Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do



- on the occasion of the special 100th Edition of the Journal for Literature, Art and Contemporary Criticism containing European poetry as voices in many and varied languages -

Introduction to European Poetry

When a bird flies into the sky
Its wings touch the air
While down there, on earth,
Man no longer moves or works
But sits in cars and smokes cigars.
The smoke that trails behind
Leaves donkeys breathless.
Existence is all about hundred years
Of poetry on the run like an iceberg
Melting away, melting away.
At one glance an entire century
Becomes more like one month.
Time left when fenced off the field
And started to build a new house.
Under construction is the entire city.
As if man’s purpose to exist on earth
Is like taking the shovel to throw
A bit of dirt on his grave before he dies
And yet he thinks he has no time to live.
Amidst all these containers of houses
Moving about in streets frozen still
There are some who still look in vain
Where the architects live instead
Amidst all designs for tomorrow.

HF Athens 16.12.2004

If anything, the mocking bird becomes a symbol like the Raven for Edgar Allen Poe once no longer the knocking against the window pane is meant, but rather a sign of the bird becoming a metaphor for what poets can hear throughout Europe now, not then.
While Turkey is knocking against the door, Dr. Markus Jaroschka, editor in chief of LICHTUNGEN, has assembled an amazing array of not architects or planners, but poets of Europe, including Fazil Juesnue Daglarca from Istanbul who has written about the ‘stone pigeon’.
All of them seem to reflect something Brendan Kennelly from Ireland expresses so well in terms of what it means to have a heart linked to a by-pass and seeing the fate of the birds in Europe in terms of one’s own imprisonment:


I cannot thrive outside my cage,
Those red bars that make all possible.
Pluck me out from this

I am a dead bird in the dust.
A passer-by might lift the body by one wing
And comment on lost flight

Days of freedom in the air.
He would be wrong because
My freedom is my cage

It was already a Surrealist manifestation which converted the Romantic version of the Happy Wanderer as someone striding through Europe with a cage and bird inside the chest close as if to say so close to the throbbing heart and yet too far away from that beat of life and love called freedom.

The edition is an amazing journey and collection of poetic voices throughout Europe. As Markus Jaroschka explains himself, ‘Literatur ist immer unterwegs’ – literature is always on the road. He feels that especially in an age when virtual images – those loaded pictures with the wrong sort of energy – flood all communication channels, it is important to perceive the language of the poets as countering that ‘terror of the world of images’.

One of those favorite images is the abandoned Wild West in America. One does not need Wender’s film to see ghost like towns whirled up by the dust for nowadays no one looks back who is left behind. There is no one but the old bar with the mirror on the wall hanging crooked. What remains of those forlorn days when everyone crowded here into the bar to get a hold of a drink was the feeling everyone wanted something and yet no one dared to go beyond the first laughter. It was like ringing the bell of fate. In their superstition they succumbed to the rules of the Game and identified the nobility as being separated from the common folk. Impatient with any possible dispute and uncomfortable with any chance of renewing the debate, the image faded on the television screen and instead was replaced by yet another commercial praising this time fresh milk.

Back to reality: LICHTUNGEN reflects an acute trend in Europe. The Roma poet Rajko Djuric expresses it in a way to make us see things that existed before us:

Before us

Before us
Water did not dry out
Fires did not extinguish
The wind made love to the leaves

Before us
The earth was pregnant
No one dared to touch her insides
Neither the dew
Nor the ant

Before us
The wild animals were tame
And still
Trees welcomed the arrival of the birds
Flowers became birds’ nests
The fishes lived in harmony

Before us
The winds were excited about heights
The water murmured in depth
Cracked the dreams in the fire

Before us

Before us
Neither grave
Nor native soil

The 100th edition of LICHTUNGEN contains a poem each from:
Minoza Ahmeti (northern Albania), Ana Luisa Amaral (Porto, now Lisbon in Portugal), Zoran Ancevski (Scorpio / Macedonia), Benny Andersen (Copenhagen, Denmark), Jurij Andruchowytisch (Ukraine), Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke (Athens, Greece), Fatos Arapi (Vlora, Southern Albania), Bernardo Atxaga (Basque region), Vizma Belsevica (Riga, Russia), Mercela Benea (no country but still in Europe), Rut Bernardi (St. Ulrich, Switzerland), Natalka Bilozerkiwez (Eastern Ukraine), Marija Bogdanova (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), Petr Bortkovec (close to Prague, Czech Republic), Daiva Cepauskaite (Lithvenia), Hugo Claus (Brugge, Belgium), Vilborg Dagbjartsdottir (Iceland), Fazil Huesnu Daglarca (Istanbul, Turkey), Rajko Djuric (Belgrade, Berlin), Roza Domascyna (Sorbish, Germany), Sylviane Dupis (Geneva, Switzerland), Ferida Durakovic (Sarajevo, Bosnia), Roy Eales (London, UK), Kritiina Ehin (Tallinn, Estonia), Werner Fenz (Graz, Austria), Tua Forsstroem (Borga, Finland), Anne Frater (Stornoway, Scotland), Katerina Frostenson (Sweden), Emilian Galaicu-Paun (Unchitesti, Republic of Moldova), Amedo Giacomini (Varmo / Cadroipo), Drago Glamuzina (Zgreb, Croatia), Adrian Grima (Malta), Claudio Grisancich (Trieste, Italy), Erik Jakub Groch (Kosive, Slovakia), Tatjana Gromaca (Sisak, Croatia), Cathrine GRondahl (Oslo, Norway), Durs Gruenbein (Dresdnen, Germany), Akos Gyorffy (Nagymaros, Hungary), Jen Hadfield (Manchester, UK), Fabjan Hafner (Kaernten, Austria), Mila Haugova (Budapest, Hungary), Zbynek Hejda (Prague, Czech Republic), Oto Horvat (Nova Sad, now lives in Italy), Jovan Hristic (Belgrade, Serbia), Emyr Humphreys (Wales), Esther Jansma (Netherlands), Gustav Janus (Slovakia), Donaldas Kajokas (Prienai, Lithvenia), Monika Kalanyos (Bogyiszlo, South Hungary), Boris Karloff (Moscow, Russia), Brendan Kennelly (Dublin, Ireland), Sarah Kirsch (Limlingerode, Germany), Tomi Kontio (Helsinki, Finland), Josef Hontalon Kovacs (Mohacs, Hungary), Tanja Kragujevic (Senta, Serbia), Claudine Kranz (Lichtenstein), Kuecuek Iskender (Istanbul, Turkey), Ewa Lipska (Krakow, Poland), Kito Lorenc (Sorben, Germany), Bernard Manciet (Southern France), Niki Marangou (Nicosia, Cypern), Maria-Merce Marcal (Barcelona, Spain), Franziscu Masala (Nughedu San Nicolo, Sassari), Friederike Mayroecker (Vienna, Austria), Semezdin Mehmedinovic (Tuzla, Bosnia), Jean-Paul Michel (Bordeaux, France), Slavko Mihalic (Zagreb), Srba Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Mette Moestrup (Arhus, Denmark), Felix Molitor (Luxembourg), Edwin Morgan (Glasgow, UK), Herta Mueller (Banat, Rumania), Irina Nechit (Moldavia), Alberto Nessi (Mendrisio, Switzerland), Ioana Nicolaie (Bucharest, Rumania), Nuala Di Dhomhnaill (Lancashire, England), Eirikur Oern Norfddahl (Iceland), Roman Ondak (Bratislava, Czech Republic), Tonnus Oosterhoff (Leiden, Netherlands), Leopoldo Maria Panero (Madrid, Spain), Chus Pa;to (Galicia, Spain), Constantin Pavlov (Sofia, Bulgaria), Ana Pejcinova (Czech Republic), Ali Podrimja (Kosova), Marts Pujats (Lettland), Hansjoerg Quaderer (Lichtenstein) Zsuzsa Rakovsyky (Budaeors, Hungary), Imla Rakusa (from Slovakia, lives in Zurich), Ales Rasanau (Russia, currently in Cologne, Germany), Hirsch Reles (Russia), Evi Riedi (Graubuenden), Ana Ristovic (Belgrade), Tadeusz Rozewicz (Wrolaw, Poland), Gilles Rozier (Paris, France), Paul-Eerik Rummo (Tallinn), Tomaz Salamun (Zagreb), Raoul Schrott (from Brazil, lives in Europe), Jelena Schwarz (St. Petersberg, Russia), Lillian Sciberras (Malta), Olga Sedakowa (Moscow, Russia), Jehan Selcuk (Cypern), Jo Shapcott (London, UK), Abdulah Sidran (Bosnia), Luis Stefan Stecher (South Tyrol, Italy), Eira Stenberg (Tampere, Finland), Petre Stoica (Rumania), Mile Stojic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Timur Sulfikarow (Duschanbe, Russia), Pedro Tamen (Lisbon), Tomas Transtroemer (Stockholm, Sweden), Vika Trenas (Minsk), Welvl Tschernin (Moscow), Vlada Urosevik (Skopje), Nils Aslak Valkeeapaee (Finland – Lapland), Miriam Van hee (Gent, Belgium), Charis Vlavianos (Athens, Greece), Jan Erik Vold (Oslo, Norway), Andrea Zanzotto (Italy), Agne Zagrakalyte).

The care and wisdom Dr. Markus Joarschka has shown in bringing out the richness of these poets is an amazing literary feat. The edition includes a CD in which 43 poets are read in their original language. Indeed, Europe of the many and varied voices become audible through this 100th edition: a tremendous contribution by the city of Graz to the world of words and not mere images.

For further information:
Dr. Markus Jaroschka
c/o Cultural Office of the city of Graz
Stigergasse 2/ii (Mariahilfer Platz)
A-8020 Graz / Austria
Tel. +43 / 316 / 872 4922

Hatto Fischer
Athens 16.12.2004

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