Urban Poetry

Urban poetry

The Promised City Foto: Philip Poppek

Never is a city map enough to capture the real experiences, the rhythm, the distinctiveness of a place. What can it possibly be that is suited to this purpose? Urban poems - author Matthias Göritz will demonstrate this, he has lived in many metropolises of the world and has described them - Urban poems would not be the worst of responses.

Urban poems have existed for as long as cities themselves and poetry is presumably the most consummate form of perception of a city. At the first reading it leads one, for instance, to a stroll, to a bus or taxi ride through the city. Time and time again it deals with movement, with the ephemeral, with the transience of a first impression; taken by surprise over and over again with what shows up behind the next bend. One asks oneself what kind of life is concealed behind which facade, how many are the lives that tarry there, unfurling on name plates, construction sites, placards, of how the history of the city binds its inhabitants in the here and now. For an instant, the entirety of juxtapositions of a city appears in the poem and creates that magical space, the composition of which transcends these seeming banalities: the poem itself turns into a landscape that one can step in. Writing an urban poem is challenging the form: the material provides the happenstance, the need to capture it and to transmute it into energy, therein lies the challenge of writing. The names of the quarters or streets in Warsaw city by themselves invoke poetic images, Mokotow, Ochota, Jolie Bosch – this could serve as an introduction. Urban poems are translations too: transformations of that which is seen, has happened, is savoured into writing. One can recount about depletion next to creation, the degeneration of ones own life and perspective in the urban corpus. For, it is not just one singular experience that is to be had in Warsaw - there are several to be gone through.

In June Matthias Göritz will spend 3 weeks as a guest of Warsaw city and during this time he will write a series of 14 poems exploring Warsaw from a poetic point of view. This project will be accompanied by an essay on the city and poetry, on the opportunities of writing and their connection to the urban perception.

Poetry workshop with Justyna Czechowska and Matthias Göritz in Warsaw. More>>

Matthias Göritz © Berlin VerlagMatthias Göritz (born in Hamburg) is a poet, author and interpreter. He studied philosophy and literature and spent some years abroad, in Moscow, Paris, Chicago and New York. He is currently living and working in Frankfurt am Main. Göritz received several awards and scholarship funds, among them the Hamburger Literaturförderpreis for his novel "Der kurze Traum des Jakob Voss" (2005) (The short dream of Jakob Voss), the Mara-Cassens-Award, the Bayern 2 Radio-Award and the scholarship by the Stiftung Niedersachsen (Foundation Niedersachsen). In April 2007 he stayed 10 weeks as a fellow of the Writer-in-Residence programme at the Deutsches Haus at New York university and a couple of weeks at Villa Dedecius in Cracow. Since 2006 he has been performing in the famous theatre production “Transfer” directed by Jan Klata.