Daniela Seel: „Laboratory for poetry as a form of living“

Daniela Seel is author, publisher, lecturer and critic and one of the matadors of new poetry. When you are looking for new German contemporary voices from poetry you strike a bonanza when you look at the programme of kookbooks. And even though her 2011 published collection of poems is called “ich kann diese stelle nicht wiederfinden” (“i cannot find this passage again”) she constantly proves the opposite, that is that she has found her place pretty well. According to her, poetry should be a form of life rather than an evening entertainment.

Daniela has won several prestigious prizes. As I met her though she would refuse to talk about the publishing company or other name dropping instanstly. Instead she was constantly talking, like twirling the red line she was engaged with at the very moment. She was speaking away from herself, would prefer issues of political significance, a lot about reservation of Indians, about ecological impacts and their corrective actions like solar power plants in Israel. Her clear mind seemed to have collected some of the lines to balls though she neither runs out of lines nor of balls.


In one of her poems there is talking of animals who scamper around, who have no eyelashes. I do really hard not to connect this image with Daniela herself. Currently she is working on a new collection of poems which are very much engaged with American natural writing like in documentary and at national geography. She moves through a lot of landscapes of information like that would be her real home and always has this ball of red yarn in her hands. She moves slowly and she likes to show  other people, with open eyes.

Like she did at a lecture and discussion group at Poesiefestival 2015 in Berlin; she was showing an American documentary which was about an icescape written in a literary tone while she was reading her poetry over the great pictures and the deep American comfort voice. Everybody was looking at the screen as she was standing somewhat offside with a mic.

Glossing through the looks/To look the place

When she was asked at the festival SOUNDOUT! by Lettrétage what her approach to presenting literature would be she told the interviewer that her ideal image of literature is not when you go to a reading after you have finished your working day, laying back. Not that you can come and go as the same person. She says that the own body would undertake a change and that you go into a completely new literary situation. As I heard that I was thinking, “Yes, that is where her place could be.”

Daniela Seel /Tumblr /wordpress, born 1974 in Frankfurt/Main, is a poet, publisher, translator, editor, host, and mentor. In 2000 she was co-founder of KOOKread, the literary branch of the artists’ network KOOK. Emerging from KOOK, and supported by book artist and illustrator Andreas Töpfer as Art Director, in 2003 she founded kookbooks – Lab for Poetry as Life Form. Her poems appeared in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, on the internet, and radio. Her first collection of poems ich kann diese stelle nicht wiederfinden / i cannot find this passage again was published by kookbooks in 2011. Her poems have been translated into Polish, English, Slovak, French, Norwegian, Italian, Dutch, Serbian, and Croatian. She has collaborated with musicians, dancers, visual artists, and fellow poets. In her current project she tries to further explore the interaction between sound, text and picture in writing about nature or “natural writing” which is often used for documentaries in English. Daniela Seel lives in Berlin.

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