Events

The publication of A New Divan is accompanied by a series of events in the summer and autumn of 2019:

The British Library, 23 May: ‘The Poet and Suleika: A West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music’

Thursday 
23 May 2019
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Knowledge Centre
The British Library

With Nujoom al-Ghanem, Paul Farley, Don Paterson and Eric Ormsby reading poetry from the West-Eastern Divan and A New Divan and ‘Hafis Lieder’ by Gottfried von Einem, ‘Suleika’ by Franz Schubert and ‘Hatem’ by Hugo Wolf sung by Simon Wallfisch.

At the centre of the ‘Book of Suleika’ are five poems, which Goethe published as his own but were in fact composed by his young lover Marianne; it is these poems that were set to music by Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf. This event aims to celebrate Goethe’s achievement but also to redress the appropriation and move the historical and poetic Suleika firmly into the spotlight in an evening of music and poetry.


Hay Literary Festival, 24 May: ‘A New Divan: A Lyrical Dialogue Between East & West’

Friday
24 May 2019
5:30 pm 
Venue: Starlight Stage

Nujoom Alghanem, Paul Farley and Bill Swainson

In honour of Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of his outstanding poem sequence, West–Eastern Divan (1819), A New Divan contains outstanding original poems by twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the East and twelve from the West. It presents a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’ and Goethe’s late, great work. Swainson, the editor of the project, is joined by Iraqi and British poets to celebrate publication.


BRISMES, Leeds, 26 June: ‘Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan200 years on’


Bradford Literary Festival, 29 June: ‘From Hafiz to Goethe: a West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music’

Saturday
29th June 2019
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Bradford Cathedral

Craig White, Eric Ormsby, Fatemah Shams, George Szirtes, Mourid Barghouti, Narguess Farzad, Simon Wallfisch with Bill Swainson

This event will be introduced by Eric Ormsby, followed by poetry from Fatemeh Shams and Mourid Barghouti, who will read their original compositions, while the English-language versions will be read by Narguess Farzad and George Szirtes. The conversation will be matched by a musical dialogue drawing on Hafiz songs set to music by composers Gottfried von Einem, Viktor Ullmann and Richard Strauss.


Shubbak Festival, 2 July: ‘A New Divan: Tyranny in Translation’

Tuesday
2 July 2019
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
John Sandoe Books

Mourid Barghouti and George Szirtes in Conversation

The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti responded to the challenge of ‘The Tyrant’ with a powerful poem called ‘The Obedience of Water’, while George Szirtes has written an English version that matches the subtle irony of the original. Barghouti and Szirtes will read from their poems and discuss the process of translation, the theme of tyranny, and reflect on Goethe’s time in the shadows of the Napoleonic wars and on the similarities and differences with today’s violent conflicts.


Edinburgh International Book Festival, 14 August: ‘The Divan Sessions: The West Eastern Divan’

Wednesday
14 August 2019
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm
Garden Theatre

Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan, the poet’s personal attempt to broaden European horizons by exploring the concept of the Other and creating a poetic dialogue between East and West, marks its 200th anniversary this year. Persian academic Narguess Farzad, poet Robin Robertson and Goethe expert Jan Wagner are joined by Haus Publishing’s Barbara Schwepcke to discuss this classic text and a specially commissioned series of new poems, translations and essays.


Edinburgh International Book Festival, 15 August: ‘The Divan Sessions: The New Divan’

Thursday
14 August 2019
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Spiegeltent

The West-Eastern Divan was Goethe’s last major body of poetry, a tribute to Persian verse. To celebrate its bicentenary, A New Divan brings together 24 poets from West and East in a dialogue exploring otherness. This major international event brings together a brilliant array of acclaimed poets from East and West, including Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie, Robin Robertson, Elaine Feinstein, Jamie McKendrick, Antonella Anedda, Chloe Aridjis, Sean O’Brien, Narguess Farzad, Jo Shapcott and Gilles Ortlieb to perform specially commissioned pieces.


Southbank Centre, London, 20 October: Adonis and Khaled Mattawa: A New Divan

Sunday
20 October 2019
12:00 pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall

Mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s great work of world literature, the West-East Divan, with readings and discussion from internationally renowned poets.

Speakers including the renowned Syrian poet Adonis, known as ‘the grand old man of poetry, secularism and free speech in the Arab world’ and the Libyan-US poet Khaled Mattawa, who writes in English and who is also Adonis’s regular translator. They gather to talk about poetry, translation, Goethe, Hafiz and different cultural traditions.


Goethe Haus, Frankfurt, 22 October: ‘Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan: Hendrik Birus in conversation with Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken’

Titelkupfer ‘West-östlicher Divan’ (1827), © Freies Deutsches Hochstift

Tuesday
22 October 2019
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Frankfurter Goethe-Haus

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Birus
and
Prof. Dr. Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken

Im Gespräch mit dem Komparatisten und Goethe-Experten Prof. Dr. Hendrik Birus, der 1994 Goethes ‚Divan‘ für den Deutschen Klassiker Verlag edierte und umfassend kommentierte, fragt Prof. Dr. Anne Bohnenkamp nach den Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschieden, die Goethes großes lyrisches Alterswerk mit der Romantik verbinden und von ihr trennen.


Barenboim-Said Akademie, Berlin, 18-20 November: ‘A New Divan: A Festival of Music and Poetry’: with Matthias Énard, Nawal El Saadawi, poets from A New Divan, and the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra

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