At the invitation of Anne Fleig, Professor of German Philology, we were able to organize our third event at the Freie Universität Berlin. We joined an advanced seminar on contemporary poetry, where we introduced The Poetry Project’s mission and its literary character, held a multilingual reading, and a discussion between students and presenters. Project manager Theresa Rüger hosted the event; Shahzamir Hataki read in Persian, Anastasiia Dunaieva in Ukrainian, and Leyla Akyildiz and Bahadȋn Akhan read in Kurdish. German translations were read by Selin Dörtkardeş.

While the conversations after our readings often revolve around the topics of flight from abroad and coexistence in Germany, the literature students were primarily interested in details of the writing process. Among other things, they wanted to know whether the poets had already written poetry in their home country; to what extent the poetic traditions there influenced them today; how much time they invest in writing; and whether they feel their texts can be rendered well in German.

Bahadȋn, whose work was published and won prizes in his home country, read a new poem addressed to his unborn daughter: “I do not know why I have fallen from the recurring dream and / simultaneously fall in dream over and over. / Hidden fears. / I do not know how many changes of clothes I have made to become your father? / For many years I have prayed for you, every day.” With this moving poem, Bahadȋn demonstrated that the tone of an original text can often only be partially translated into German. Our audience was all the more enthusiastic about the multilingual reading format.

We would like to thank Dr. Fleig for her willingness to devote an entire seminar session to us, and the students for their attention and exciting discussions after the reading.