One is a CROWD – Clemens Schittko

Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them five questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Berlin looks like, meet Clemens Schittko! 

Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?

I do not see myself as an author and so on. I’m actually a trained cleaner. That’s it.

What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?

For several years the Beat Literature has had a big influence on me. If I had to mention just a name, then it is surely Allen Ginsberg.

Please name several contemporary authors who you think are most significant – in any possible sense – and why?

Paulus Böhmer, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, E. M. Cioran, Elke Erb, Tomaž Šalamun, Ulrich Schlotmann, Gertrude Stein etc.

It is difficult to say, why they are most significant. Their writing approaches are simply too different. For example I like Rolf Dieter Brinkmann for his intransigence.

What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Has there been a mentionable shift in that relationship through new media as in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivened on the other hand?

I think there is no relationship between the author and the reader. All readers of poems, that I know, write poems, too. There is simply no difference between both groups.

There have always been interactions and disputes between the discourses of poetry and politics. Do you see possibilities of emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas? How can/should/do these literary strategies look like?

That’s really a difficult question. If there was a strategy, it would probably be the best to stop writing. For me writing only works if you do not know what the whole boils down to. Only then it can be dangerous to the established system.


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