The CROWD is on the move – please make yourself at home!
While others may get by with a little help from their friends, the CROWD Omnibus Reading Tour would not be taking place at all without them. In this portrait series, we would like to introduce you to those who have allowed us to fill in the gaps on the map and bring the whole of Europe together in the name of literature. From May to August 2016, our associated partners will be hosts, havens, and potential life savers for over 100 authors as they snake their way through 15 different European countries and over 40 cities. We asked our partners to tell us about their work in their respective regions; their vision for the CROWD network, and the significance of literature for them both within and beyond Europe’s borders. This is what Holger Pils from the Lyrik Kabinett, Munich said:
What do you expect from CROWD?
I am looking forward to meeting interesting people, inspiring poets and to learn about the poetry in their countries; to learn about how they live, work, write, perform. We are always grateful for ideas and contacts for future invitations of poets, whom we can introduce to our audience.
What are the main activities of your work?
The Foundation Lyrik Kabinett is a non-profit-organisation dedicated to lyric poetry. Our aim is to spark and nurture the enthusiasm for poems and understanding of poetry and to give a chance to become acquainted with poetry, also from other cultures, to everyone. About 50 readings a year take place at the Kabinett, featuring poets from Germany and abroad (about half and half), contemporary poetry as well as poetry from other epochs in recitals (also half and half). We hold a collection of currently 55.000 volumes of poetry with about 2.000 acquisitions a year for public use. The Lyrik Kabinett also sends poets to schools giving workshops for adolescents to stimulate interest in poetry. Last but not least we publish volumes of poetry in different series ourselves.
What is literary activism supposed to mean? What does it mean to you?
It means commitment and devotion to literature. It means spreading knowledge and awareness of the value of poetry; for instance through face-to-face encounter and discussion between writers and readers. Practically it means to keep staying active with endurance, beyond one-day-eventism, and for our institution: it means being independent and cooperate at the same time.
What is special about the literary scene in Germany?
Just to answer a more detailed question, what is special about the ‘scene of lyric poetry’ in Germany: it is growing rapidly (e.g. publications, readings, blogs, festivals, awards), becoming far more exciting and experimental than the ‘prose scene’. It is fragmented in aesthetic regards, but the young authors are very eager to collaborate.
What do you think of Literature as a European mother tongue?
Since the beginnings of the Lyrik Kabinett in 1989 we quote as one of our mottos Johann Georg Hamann, saying that poetry is the “mother tongue of mankind”. So, yes, I agree (to add that this tongue does not end at EU borders).