This Writer's Life

Off to the Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin



I’m leaving in a few hours to attend the Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. This is my second festival, and I am really looking forward to it.

Zebra is the biggest poetry film festival in the world, and the oldest. It started in 2002 and has occurred every two years since. This year, the international focus is on the poetry of Norway, and the special focus area is on poetry films made in Nordrhein-Westfalen, including the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf.

If you’ve read my bio, you know that I was born in Germany. My maternal grandfather was born in Düsseldorf, and my mother grew up in Cologne. I’m excited at the chance to see poetry films from this part of Germany.

Zebra always includes a call to filmmakers to base a film on one poem specially chosen for the festival. This year the poem is “Love in the Age of the EU” by Björn Kuhligk:


Love in the Age of the EU


As a border patrolman draws

a line again, shooting is necessary,

is permitted, filming

is necessary, is permitted


how unworldly this continent

with little stars on its lapels, how it

builds up its defenses, Mummy

quickly does the washing up


when the first sneakers were washed

up in the south, later two, three bipeds

were fished out, firing back

is necessary, is permitted


Here is Nic Sebastian’s video of the poem:

There will also be a retrospective of the work of the poet, filmmaker and action artist Dieter Roth.

For some pithy answers to five questions about video poetry, check out this article in Chased Magazine (it includes answers from myself, Dave Bonta, Marc Neys, Cheryl Gross and Alastair Cook, among others):


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