Shahzamir Hataki | Photo © Rottkay
It began with an open poetry workshop for Persian-speaking youths from various temporary refugee accommodations throughout Berlin. They wrote stories about what they saw as they fled from their homes to Germany.
Nine months later, the boys published their touching texts in the Berlin Anthologie (The Poetry Project -- Allein nach Europa) and read them before a large audience at the 16th Berlin International Literature Festival. The enthusiastic response that they received from the public encouraged them to continue.
All of the award winning poets are currently in school. All except one have found a guardian. All are learning German, and continue, despite homesickness and low points, on their path to a new life. The Poetry Project has also become a facet of their lives in their new homeland, which we, The Poetry Project Team, are very happy about.
Teachers have asked us whether the young poets can read before students in their schools. They can, though not always personally because they are students themselves. We are in the midst of putting together a film of the first, and most authentic, reading, which we will soon show at schools around Germany. Our goal is to encourage the interaction of “Willkommensklassen,” the welcome classes for the new arrivals, and regular school classes. We are currently developing this concept, and will continue to post updates as the project progresses.