The Story

This reimagining of Goethe’s seminal work gives us the opportunity to re-engage with his thoughts – a much needed exercise, given the state of the world today.”

– Daniel Barenboim (from his Foreword to  A New Divan)

Goethe's New Divan

In honour of the renowned German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the West-Eastern Divan, his great poem sequence of 1819 inspired by the poems of the great fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafiz, Gingko presents A New Divan: A Lyrical Dialogue between East & West and a new, scholarly translation by Eric Ormsby of the original West-Eastern DivanA New Divan brings together new poems by 24 leading poets – 12 from the ‘East’ and 12 from the ‘West’ – responding to the original 12 themes of the West-Eastern Divan in a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’. 

22 outstanding English-language poets have created English versions of these poems, either directly or via bridge or literal translations, and three pairs of essays enhance and complement the poems, mirroring Goethe’s original ‘Notes and Essays for a Better Understanding of the West-Eastern Divan’. These publications, and the series of accompanying events at festivals across the UK and at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, aim to affirm the famous words from the West-Eastern Divan’s “Gingko Biloba” poem: that “Orient and Occident cannot be parted for evermore.”