A poem, being an instance of language, hence essentially dialogue, may be a letter in a bottle thrown out to sea with the–surely not always strong–hope that it may somehow wash up somewhere, perhaps on a shoreline of the heart. In this way, too, poems are en route: they are headed toward.
Toward what? Toward something open, inhabitable, an approachable you, perhaps, an approachable reality.
Such realities are, I think, at stake in a poem.
I also believe that this kind of thinking accompanies not only my own efforts, but those of other, younger poets. Efforts of those who, with man-made stars flying overhead, unsheltered even by the traditional tent of the sky, exposed in an unsuspected, terrifying way, carry their existence into language, racked by reality and in search of it.
From Paul Celan’s speech after receiving the Literature Prize of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.
Die Insel Rügen is Germany’s largest island, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Ostsee (Baltic Sea). It belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern of Northeastern Germany. The gateway to it is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, linking it to the mainland by road and railway, 2 routes crossing the 2 km-wide Strelasund. The coast is characterized by sandy beaches, lagoons (Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as peninsulas and headlands. The Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King’s Chair, the main landmark of Rügen, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. The island is a popular tourist destination for its resorts, the diverse landscape, and its long, sandy beaches.
“The Bremen town musicians” (Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten)
A well known statue at the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Germany with a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cock, together building a pyramid. The donkey was on his way from the surrounding country to Bremen to become a town musician while the other animals followed him - but they never reached the city…
The sculpture was created by Gerhard Marcks in 1953 (thx for the hint @kleinergruenerdrache)
Altstadt (old town) in Bremen, Northern Germany. Bremen is a Hanseatic city in Northwestern Germany and one of Germany’s 16 federal states. Its a commercial and industrial city with a major port on the River Weser. It’s the 2nd-most populous city in Northern Germany and #10 in in Germany. It’s home to dozens of historical galleries and museums, ranging from sculptures to art museums. It has a reputation as a working class city. Many multinational companies are located here. Four-time German football champions Werder Bremen are also based in the city. Bremen is some 60 km from the North Sea.
Rügen is Germany’s largest island, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Ostsee (Baltic Sea) in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Northeastern Germany. The gateway to the island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via a bridge and a causeway, crossing the 2 km-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea. The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons, and open bays, as well as peninsulas and headlands. UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King’s Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island. Baltic sea resorts include the towns of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin, and Thiessow. Rügen is a very popular tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches.
Stralsund is a Hanseatic city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Northeastern Germany, located on the Strelasund, a sound of the Ostsee (Baltic Sea). The city is easy to reach from the metropolitan regions of Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen-Malmö in Denmark, Stettin, and nearby Rostock. Stralsund was founded in 1234 and was one of the most prospering members of the medieval Hanseatic League. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Main industries are shipyards, fishing, mechanical engineering, tourism, life sciences, services, and high tech industries, especially IT and biotech.
Helmut Schmidt, German chancellor from 1974 to 1982, died today, November 10, 2015, at the age of 96
Helmut Schmidt, citizen of the hanseatic city of Hamburg, became famous in 1962 during the North Sea Flood of 1962, when large parts of the city were flooded. At that time, he was senator of interior affairs and ordered the German army (and the British Royal Air Force) to help in disaster relief although operations of the army in interior affairs were strictly forbidden by the German constitution as a result of the experiences during Weimar and Nazi Germany. He later said “I did not look at our constitution these days, I was looking after the people.”
His chancellorship was dominated by the economic struggles of the 1970s, an era of stagflation and repeated oil price shocks. Under his leadership, Germany managed to ride these rough times better than most other industrialized nations, stabilizing its economic position. Another troublesome issue was left-wing terrorism by the Red Army Fraction (RAF), which repeatedly took political and industrial leaders hostage, eventually killing some of them. Schmidt followed an adamant policy against the RAF, refusing to pay ransom money, which stimulated criticism against him being cold-hearted against the victims of terrorism. He himself later said that he had felt the enormous responsibility for the lives the hostages as existentially depressing. Schmidt, who became chancellor after Willy Brandt had resigned, was voted out of office and replaced by Helmut Kohl by the Federal Parliament in 1982 in a constructive motion of no confidence after his coalition partner FDP (Free Democratic Party) had made a right turn, and the left wing of his own party, the SPD (Social Democratic Party), was no longer willing to follow his course in foreign, safety, and military politics, in particular the NATO Double-Track Decision. In retrospect, he answered to the question whether he had willingly executed the post as a chancellor: “Actually not very willingly, no.”
In the 2000s, Helmut Schmidt fulfilled the role of Germany’s elder statesman. His expertise in world politics and macroeconomics was highly regarded, and he was a frequent guest in political talk shows and a sought-after interview partner. This way, he gained more popularity than he ever received as a chancellor.
Apart from politics, Helmut Schmidt also has musical and artistic inclinations. He was an excellent pianist and published several recordings of piano concerts of Mozart and J. S. Bach. He also collected paintings and painted himself. He remained a lifelong heavy smoker and continued to smoke in public and during TV appearances long after the ban of smoking in public rooms. In response to the ironic comment, smokers were good for the common weal because they would die sooner, he, already 90 years old, responded: “I can’t do you the favor of dying sooner any more. It is too late for that.”