The Clanging World – a night at the Berlin international poetry festival with indieberlin
The Clanging World – a night at the Berlin’s international poetry festival
I wish there was a pill that you could take that would allow you to understand any language in the world – Swahili, Burmese, the language they speak in Greenland, Greenlandish? Greenlandic? It’s Greenlandic.
The drug would have to wear off after a few hours and slowly the languages around you would begin to melt back into garbled abstraction. This pill would be perfect for remote tourism, UN senates, and international poetry readings.
It was at such a reading that I found myself on Friday evening. Berlin’s international ‘Poesie festival’, running from June 1st to 9th, commenced on Friday with a ‘Weltklang – Nacht der Poesie’ (Sound World – Night of Poetry). The line up spanned a good deal of the globe, with poets heralding from Japan, Brazil, Canada, Macedonia, Tunis, China, and yes, Greenland. Though they introduced their work in English or German, all the poets were faithful to their mother tongue, and read their work in the original language.
Weltklang - the experience was exactly this: listeners were invited to pass the semiotic threshold, into a clanging world where language becomes pure sound. Words fold into one another, undecipherable, unpredictable, at times discordant…I found myself focusing on the ways the mouth moves in different languages, the ‘sh sh’ of Chinese, the murmured French, the hard Anglo Saxon tones. It was the first time many of us had heard Greenlandic, which I discovered is an incredibly beautiful language, a dialect of water insects.
Though the Weltklang’s linguistic maze of sound and language took a good degree of pacing and determination from its listeners and the glass of wine was well earned at intermission, I would recommend this particular experience of immersion, at least once in your life.
Also, if poetry is your thing, and even if it’s not, check out the festival’s website poesiefestival.org. The week is packed with fascinating sounding workshops, political talks, colloquiums, readings and films. Enjoy!
Review by Kasia Juno