( November 24, 2016, Mumbai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan is organising its own Poetry Festival, Poets Translating Poets from 25-27 November 2016 – a first in the Institute’s sixty-year history.The Poets Translating Poets Festival in Mumbai is planned as the concluding event of the Poets Translating Poets project. It presents the results of an arduous translation process between poets from South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and their counterparts from Germany. Fifty-one poets participated in one-week encounters across nine cities on the subcontinent – Mumbai, Dhaka, Colombo, New Delhi, Trivandrum, Karachi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Gangtok in 2015-2016. This is a unique venture, which has transcended language barriers, and built bridges between entirely diverse poetry traditions and cultural codes.
On Nov 25th, the first day, the Festival throws its arms open to the city of Mumbai. Poets will negotiate local cabs and buses to get to various tea stalls all over the city and read poetry with other PTP poets, Mumbai-based poets, and also give an ear to spontaneous readings by the audiences in the Mumbai Tea Party. We end the day with the festival opening with conversations and a concert featuring Liederabend with Benjamin Appl and Simon Lepper, at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai.
Nov 26th, the second day of the Festival, is dedicated to Poetry of Resistance and Peace, celebrating India’s Constitution Day. The programme will include readings, discussions, film screenings and workshops around poetry of resistance, poetry across borders, aesthetics and resistance, poetry in conflict zones, Urdu and Bengali poetry, poetry after peace and more. With a special screening of Amar Kanwar’s A Night of Prophecy, and panels led by Ranjit Hoskote, Kaiwan Mehta, Arunava Sinha, Arundhati Subramaniam, Nabina Das, Dr. Thomas Wohlfahrt, the day promises to be full of raging thought. The day ends with a collaborative concert, Ulrike+ALIF on Scratch Tap, featuring poetry and music in Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi and German at the wonderfully grungy Edward Theatre.
On Nov 27, we close the Festival by showcasing poetry’s romance with other arts – music, theatre and visual arts. Watch performance presentations in theatre, music and visual arts with Gerhard Falkner, Atul Dodiya, Kamini Sawhney, Swanand Kirkire, Nicolai Kobus, Harish Meenashru, Christian Filips, Sunil Shanbag, Danish Husain, Denzil Smith, Adil Manuel, Manoj Shah, Mamta Sagar, Sharmistha Saha, Vasu Dixit and many others. There will be multilingual poetry readings by children and adults, sessions on spoken word, open mics and workshops on performance poetry and poetry and image. As we head towards dusk, we fuel our thoughts with a lecture by Prof Ganesh Devy, the man renowned as the one out to map the world’s linguistic diversity, this is followed by a closing discussion with festival director Dr. Martin Wälde, Deutsche UNESCO representative Prof. Dr. von Welck, and author Kiran Nagarkar, with renowned sociologist Prof Dr. Surendra Munshi. As a closing concert we bring the jazz group MELT Trio from Berlin, who will feature poetry and interpretations of poems by Nicolai Kobus and Rochelle D’Silva in their performances, at the famed quad of St Xavier’s College.
The Festival ensures that Poets Translating Poets would be presented across Mumbai, the poets are visiting 11 colleges and schools across Mumbai, to conduct workshops and present readings and lectures in the OUTREACH Programme. The Festival has also partnered with poetry clubs and community centers to present a month of ‘Poetry Across the City’ all through November. Additionally, young poets in the city are also being encouraged to present their poetry in ‘Open Mics’ hosted at the Festival venues. A masterclass and four workshops, which are free for participants, are being organised and held at various art galleries in the city including ARTISANS’, TARQ and Mumbai Art Room.
Poets Translating Poets is a two-year-long project initiated in October 2014 by the Goethe-Institut Mumbai along with the Goethe-Instituts in South Asia, and in collaboration with the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin / Haus für Poesie and in cooperation with Deutsche UNESCO, with an aim to create a platform for poets from South Asia and Germany to translate each other’s works.
The Festival is being organised with the support of numerous partners and supporters including venue partners – National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), St. Xavier’s College and Edward Theatre. The newly formed “Goethe-Institute India German Business Circle“ including nine German companies -Siemens, Volkswagen, Hamburg Süd, Lanxess, TÜV, Rheinland, BASF and Thyssenkrupp, and numerous educational, art, poetry, cultural and community institutions and groups in Mumbai.
To view the full festival program, and for details on all Poets, Speakers, Performers please visit
*Details of the programme are subject to last minute changes.