Our last reading of the year took place on 19 December in the foyer of the Georg-Herwegh-Gymnasium, the alma mater of our intern Elisabeth Renger, who took charge of organizing this event. This time, the texts and their translations were read by our poets in tandem with members of the school's literature club and the advanced German literature courses.

They were joined by: Rahmetullah Berxwedan Andan, Nesîbe Gûneylî, Mykhailo Krasilnikov, Mariia Kaziun, Dmytro Krasilnikov, Tayebah Joya und Razia Karimi, who recited texts in Kurdish, Ukrainian and Persian. The students read German translations of these works. The poets and the students met before the reading, introduced themselves and worked together on pronunciation.

Dmytro read his poem "How good it would be,” which appealed the audience not to indulge in dreams and visions, but to acknowledge reality in all its terror and pain: “how good would it be, if pain would disappear, / how good would it be, without any war, / how good would it be, if wishes were fact, / how good would it be, but it won’t.” After Dmytro finished reading, there was a brief moment of silence. Then the applause began. It was precisely in this silence that the audience gave the text the recognition it deserved - a moment of solace. Another ray of hope came with Razia's poem, which concluded the reading: "I watch the emergence of butterflies, whose wings must still unfold." Before this, the student who was to read the German translation asked: "The poem is very gloomy, but this verse is different. Is that hope?" And Razia replied: "Yes, that’s hope."

The audience consisted mainly of secondary school students as well as some teachers and staff. The entrance hall, normally filled with bustling conversation, fell silent for the duration of the reading. Everyone listened thoughtfully and gave the readers their full attention - which is not necessarily a given, especially for a young audience. We are delighted that so much space was given to our poets’ work! Thank you very much for the invitation and the commitment of the literature club and the advanced German literature classes. We hope to see you again soon!

Rahmetullah Berxwedan reading aloud at the event.
Rahmetullah Berxwedan reading aloud at the event.
Image: © Aline Deprez