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The American Voice Returns: Lundquist and poets in Berlin

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Mainoeuvre gallery and New River Press present: THE AMERICAN VOICE RETURNS

A night of haunting, beautiful, and love-fuelled poetry, music, and discussion. Cult LA poet Robert Lundquist makes a rare visit to Berlin to read from his collection After Mozart (Heroin On 5th Street). His poetry is an overflow of pure imagination laced with a melancholic, idiosyncratic surrealism, deeply engaged with poets such as Paul Celan, Federico Garcia Lorca, and John Ashbury.

Robert returns for the first time in over 50 years to Berlin, the origin city of a woman who saved his life, his grandmother Hildegard von Eckartsberg. Hildegard’s father emigrated with her from Berlin to NYC at the turn of the century to open a hotel business. He was robbed of everything and murdered in front of his daughter. Hildegard was then abandoned and spent the rest of her life as a waitress. She endured a bizarre and harrowing life with kindness, and Robert dedicates this reading to her. He writes "It just means so much to read in Berlin because of how proud my grandmother would be. And without her I would most likely be in and out of jail. It was her love that saved me, I am sure of this.”

His return is welcomed with performances from some of Berlin's finest contemporary poets: Tzveta Sofronieva, Alexandru Bulucz, Martin Jankowski, Rumiana Ebert, Sophia Alexandra, and Charles Simmonds.

Award winning poets, scientists, and translators Tzveta Sofronieva and Rumiana Ebert will read from their English-language book “Reflections in a well”, published recently in London by Paekakariki Press.

The fantastic contemporary poets Martin Jankowski and Alexandru Bulucz will read English translations of their acclaimed German poetry books.

Young talents Sophia Alexandra and Charles Simmonds will read English originals from the manuscripts of their first poetry collections.

British Lebanese musician Sophie Naufal will perform mournful, elegant songs inspired by themes in Lundquist's work.

Please join us on this intimate and historic evening at the brilliant Manoeuvre gallery. There will be home-cooked food provided and nice wine sold for cheap. This event is free.

Doors at 7pm. Poetry and music 8-10pm. Manoeuvre gallery (Schöneberg). Meraner Str. 10, 10825. Facebook event here.

---more background----

Robert is returning to Berlin for the first time in five decades. It is the origin city of his grandmother Hildegard von Eckartsberg, to which this evening is dedicated. From an aristocratic German family, her father emigrated with her and his wife to New York at the turn of the century to start a hotel business. Soon on arrival, he was robbed and shot dead in front of his children. Hildegard's mother and sister then left America, leaving her behind. She became a maid on the Southern Pacific Railroad, then a waitress in Los Angles’ Union Station, never receiving help from her wealthy family. Robert Lundquist's childhood home life was extremely violent. His grandmother Hildegard provided him love and an escape from home life through long walks around the Downtown LA. He writes "It just means so much to read in Berlin because of how proud my grandmother would be. And without her I would most likely be in and out of jail. It was her love that saved me, I am sure of this."

-----Biographies-----

- Robert Lundquist was one of the rising stars of the Santa Cruz renaissance. By the early 1970s he was published in the Paris Review, anthologized in Raymond Carver’s magazine Quarry West, and listed in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘Best 100 American Poets’. Due to problems with addiction and disillusionment with American letters, he stopped publishing work for several decades, working as a social worker and then psychoanalyst. Today he and his wife run a private practice in Downtown LA. His poetry has been rediscovered by British poetry publisher New River Press, who have brought together five decades of work in After Mozart (Heroin On 5th Street).

- Alexandru Bulucz was born in Alba Iulia (Romania) in 1987 and has lived in Germany since 2000. In 2016 he completed a Master's degree in German and Comparative Literature at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, writing his doctoral thesis on the East German writer Wolfgang Hilbig. He translates from French and Romanian and is the editor of the philosophical book series "Einsichten im Dialog" (Insights in dialogue). He has published poems in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies and works as a literary critic for newspapers and radio. His debut collection "Aus sein auf uns" (To be out for us/ To be after us) was published in 2016. His poems are translated into Arabic, English, Romanian, Spanish and Turkish. In 2019 he was awarded the Wolfgang Weyrauch literary prize for his poetry.

- Tzveta Sofronieva is the author of twenty collections of poetry, short stories, essays and poetry translations. Born in Bulgaria in 1963 she settled in Berlin in 1992 but remained a frequent traveler. A physicist and historian of science by education, she has a doctorate in Philosophy in 1991 and attended a master class with Joseph Brodsky in 1992. She has received the Poetry Award of the Bulgarian Academy of Science (1988) and the Adelberst-von-Chamisso Förderpreis (2009). She has been a Walther Rathenau Fellow in Berlin (1991) a St. John's College Fellow in Cambridge, U.K. (1992), Writer-in-Residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart (1996), the Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades/Los Angeles (2005) and in Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (2010). She has been a Max Kade Writer in Residence at MIT, Boston, and a recipient of the Cliff Becker Prize in Translation together with Chantal Wright in 2012. You can read an essay on her work "Sophie Discovers Amerika: German-Speaking Women Write the New World" by Chantal Wright here: https://www.versopolis-poetry.com/poet/204/tzveta-sofronieva

- Martin Jankowski is a Berlin based writer and poet who started in the 80ies as a singer-songwriter in the oppositional underground of Leipzig. His texts were banned by the STASI but nevertheless his songs and poems became popular during the “monday demonstrations” that led to the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the GDR. After 1989 he published songs, four poetry books, tales and short stories, essaybooks, literary criticism, nonfiction on history and culture and a novel about 1989 (“Rabet”). His works were translated into 17 languages and got awards like the annual German Literary Science and Philosophy Prize (1998) or the Alfred Doeblin Scholarship of the German Academy of Arts (2006). He is a regular guest at international festivals and universities; as a cultural activist he curates international projects and festivals, chairs the internationally active Berliner Literarische Aktion e.V. and hosts several regular literary salons.* >> Jankowski belongs to the most interesting voices of a new generation of East-German writers…<< (Caroline Wyatt, BBC)

- Rumiana Ebert is a writer, translator and chemist. Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, she moved to Germany in 1966 and gained a PhD in Chemistry from the Technical University in Munich. She also studied Musicology at the University of Heidelberg. She has published four books of poems in German: Entgegenkommen, (Kastell, 1992) and Schnittstellen, (Kastell, 1996); Ecken und Ovale, (Wieser, 2013) and Mitlesebuch 135, (Aphaia, 2017). She has translated and published Bulgarian poetry in German and her short stories and poetry have appeared in magazines and anthologies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. She translated and edited two books by Georgi Markov and has been awarded several prizes and grants, including the Mannheim Lyric Prize in 2007.

- Sophie Naufal is a London based British-Lebanese composer and performer. As a singer-songwriter and guitarist she writes wry, dark, and sharply observed narratives of modern life. She has performed around the U.K. as well as in Portugal, Lebanon, Australia, America and Thailand, where she spent time as the resident musician in a jazz bar. As a composer and producer she has written for theatre, film, and performance pieces.

- Sophia Alexandra grew up in a multilingual, transcultural family and has written poetry and short stories for as long as she can remember. She studied Psychology in Germany and took courses in creative writing in the United States where she discovered her passion for the English language in poetry. Sophia currently works in the art department in film and TV as well as theatre. She will read from the manuscript of her first poetry collection.

- Charles Simmonds, born in 1989 London, is a multidisciplinary artist specialising in painting, drawing, photography & writing. Now based in Berlin the artist channels all aspects of what interests him & what pulls at his soul strings into his work. From ancient philosophy, science, history, astronomy, deep space, the human form, inner & outer interactions, to emotional everything's, flowing poetic prose & humorous observations on the outer & inner worlds. A solitary insanity in the awareness of all things being obscurely painful & beautiful is at the centre of the artists work.


- New River Press is a poetry publisher founded in 2016 and run by artist Robert Montgomery, filmmaker Greta Bellamacina, and writer Heathcote Ruthven. They collections and anthologies of work that is visual, romantic, and radical. Sarah Roselle Khan wrote in i-D magazine that New River Press is “breathing new life into the way we disseminate poetry”. AnOther magazine’s Ana Kinsella described NRP as “a publishing house fuelled by restlessness and a frustration with the state of contemporary poetry in Britain.” Autre magazine praised us as “one of the UK’s edgiest and most exciting poetry imprints.” Tom Stoppard said the work of New River Press is “always rewarding”. They have had events at Shakespeare and Company in Paris, The Poetry Bookshop in Hay-On-Wye, have programmed line ups at the Curious Arts Festival and Stoke Newington Literary Festival, and organise many events such as London Poetry Walks led by the Irish poet Niall McDevitt.