please note: the What is Poetry Festival IV is being postponed and will take place in **2018**
Ubud (Bali) 2018
What is Poetry Festival IV –
What is Poetry? is an initiative by:
Dudy Anggawi (Indonesia, Director of “Forum Penyair Internasional Indonesia”)
Michael Augustin (Director of “Poetry on the Road”, Radio Bremen)
Silke Behl (Chairwoman “Literaturhaus Bremen”, Radio Bremen)
Indra Wussow (Director/Curator “Sylt Foundation” (Germany/South Africa)
The What is Poetry festival IV / 2018 in Ubud/Bali is partner of the Sylt Foundations long term programme "transformation and identity"
The idea of language, its changing expressions and perceptions in a hybrid world.
Our latest edition of “What is Poetry” aims to look at the topic from new and very different angles. The
language of the arts – their different concepts of language, their different forms of language and expressions
will be critically scrutinized. Are there common denominators and where are points of contacts? And what
does it mean for common artistic collaborations. Especially for international and intercultural art projects.
Experiences/discourses convinced the curators and the participations that language, poetry and literature
should be scrutinized interdisciplinary and thus artists from other fields are invited to share their experiences
The interdisciplinary approach will be at the core of the Bali festival and discourses and workshops among
poets, visual artists, dancers, musicians, composers and curators about their ideas and use of language will
be an integral part of the experience.
There will be a show of Jaco van Schalkwyk’s painting series “Arcadia” that is a result of his previous
residency in Bali in 2015.
PARTICIPANTS of the Festival in Ubud:
Dudy Anggawi (curator/actor/Indonesia)
Silke Behl (curator/writer, Germany)
Ulrike Draesner (poet/Germany)
Rosa Dorothea Herliany (poet/Indonesia)
Di Lu Galay (poet/Myanmar)
Samar Gantang (poet/Indonesia)
Heiko Kalmbach (filmmaker/Germany)
Nengah Hari Mahardika (musician/Composer/Indonesia)
Afrizal Malna (poet/Indonesia)
Jill Richards (pianist/composer/ South Africa)
Jaco van Schalkwyk (visual artist/South Africa)
Enrique Winter (poet/Chile)
Indra Wussow (curator/writer/Germany)
In 2011 poets of all nations, of different institutions, universities and art centres started a new and exiting
series of festivals and work shops. ‘What’s Poetry’ is an experimental approach aiming to enrich the global
cultural landscape by the means of poetical and intellectual exchange and debate in different areas of the
The partners of the festivals are high profile institutions (see attachment) to support a long-term project that
has explored and negotiated cultural ideas and artistic production from its very beginning. This project has
initiated a new network, which might offer a decisively new perception of our status quo and the future.
2012: What is Poetry Festival I in Indonesia. 45 poets from 11 countries
2013: What is Poetry Festival II in South Africa/Zimbabwe. 15 poets from 8 countries, visual artists and
2015: Whats’s Poetry Festival III / Tabanan International Poetry Festival in Indonesia/Bali. 10 poets of 7
countries; Indonesian musicians, composers and dancers
Concept of the What is Poetry festival:
Readings and performances of poets from different countries and backgrounds constitute the basis of all the
festivals. Through these works we aim to scrutinize the ideas of language and its importance for individual
and national identities in the past, the present and in the future. In workshops and discussions we have
been exploring the different approaches in different countries and entities. During panel discussions with
academics, work shops with students and translators we have aimed to develop and refine the project, to
formulate new questions and to add new partners.
This project aims at sustainability: A huge number of (published) translations, follow-up-workshops, crosscultural dialogs, residencies and invitations extended the network quickly and opened it for trend-setting
discussions. Sustainability is also guaranteed due to the steady inner circle of the project. Organizers and poets like Ulrike Draesner, Afrizal Malna and Vonani Bila attended the project from the very beginning and are till now involved in developing it further and constantly expanding the network.