From Meat to Mermaids: The written and spoken word of SAND literary journal no.17.

SAND Literary Journal no.17 release Berlin

SAND Literary Journal has become a solid contribution to the English literary scene in Berlin since 2009. It’s twice-annually published journal is always filled with poetry, fiction and other writings from a diverse collection of writers around Berlin and its 17th edition is no exception. IndieLit got a close exclusive at their opening event and checked out the writing on offer!

Inside Lettrétage das Literaturhaus of Kreuzberg, people gathered to have a drink, a chat, look at the posters of the works and of course purchase their own SAND literary journal to browse through, as well as listen to the performers.

SAND Literary Journal no.17 release Berlin

Photographer Credit – Alexis Eldred

The writers who spoke during the opening night were from all over the world including Singapore and Australia and included such a wide breadth of symbolism and subject matter. As SAND states, the works include ‘landscapes of post-apocalyptic Finland, post-marital Macedonia, post-vegetarian Australia, or post-mortem Oregon’. The performers were a combination of those that have been published in no.17, others not and others in previous issues of SAND.

‘I slugged down paracetamol by the town river and watched rain fall silent as snow on hot summer nights, heard owls while I lay stuck somewhere.’

Tse Hao Guang from Singapore began the night with some poetry, including the work of poetry published inside the edition Enclosing without blocking out it’s still transparent which is rhythmic and simple, emphasising repetition. Tse Hao has his own poetry collection Deeds of Light and has been nominated and shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize.

SAND Literary Journal no.17 release Berlin

Photographer credit – Alexis Eldred

Next was Nate McCarthy from Australia who read from their published work within this month’s edition of SAND, The First Steak of the Rest of My Life. Reading through this emotive and descriptive piece, it describes the emotions of Nate after coming down with food-related illness and having to eat meat for the first time in sixteen years being a vegetarian. The language within this piece is truly beautiful, as Nate recounts first tastes of meat and old memories: ‘I slugged down paracetamol by the town river and watched rain fall silent as snow on hot summer nights, heard owls while I lay stuck somewhere.’

SAND Literary Journal no.17 release Berlin

Photographer credit – Alexis Eldred

James Shea from the USA and Hong Kong read some of his poetry from his own poetry books at the event, including some from The Lost Novel and Star in the Eye. It definitely had a flair of the feminine and broken relationships within his writings which was read naturally and rhythmically.

‘landscapes of post-apocalyptic Finland, post-marital Macedonia, post-vegetarian Australia, or post-mortem Oregon’

Dorothy Tse also from Hong Kong came next and read a piece about a ‘reverse mermaid’ called Woman Fish about a man whose wife turns into a creature with a fish-top-half and a human-bottom-half body. Her piece was from one of her three short story collections This got everyone chuckling, but the language was still descriptive and well read.

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Amongst these authors was Jennifer Kronovet from Berlin, translator of both Chinese and Yiddish and the author of two poetry collections, including her most recent publication The Wug Test. Her works were based on languages, the struggles and the laughs of trying to interconnect dead languages to today.

SAND Literary Journal no.17 release Berlin

Photographer credit – Alexis Eldred

Last from Portland in the USA was John Beer who read from his prize-winning poetry collection named after the infamous T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland and Other Poems. This was a unique and interesting addition to the night as it almost entirely consisted of the words ‘drip drop’ in a rhythmic manner that felt very hypnotic until SAND started up their DJ line-up.

The SAND no.17 edition contains a mixture of these works, but also a plethora of other authors and poets from around the world, each with a unique writing style that gives you a taste of each of their works within one journal.

The journal is available in most English Berliner bookstores and on their website. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on up-and-coming editions and events!

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