Thursday 25 September 2014

Exciting commemorative Poet in the City event Monday, 13th October 2014

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Modern Poetry in Translation
World War I: Poetry from around the world
At 7pm on Monday 13 October 2014
Hall One at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG
Poet in the City, in partnership with MPT, presents an event exploring the poetry of World War One.Starting from the context of our own much celebrated poets, including Owen, Sassoon, Brooke, we move through areas of the conflict around the world and experience the war through voices other than our own.

From Apollinaire on the fields of France to Punjabi folk songs, from Russian voices to poems from the German trenches, we travel across frontiers and borders, and discover how poetry plays an enduring role in the telling of these human stories.
Andrew Motion
was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009. He has received numerous awards and has published four celebrated biographies. His most recent collection is The Customs House(Faber 2012). Andrew was knighted for services to poetry in 2009.
Sasha Dugdale
is a poet, translator and editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. Her most recent collection is Red House, (Oxford Poets / Carcanet 2011). She translates new Russian writing for theatre companies including the Royal Court, and RSC.
Stephen Romer
has published three previous collections of poetry with Oxford University Press and was the editor of the Faber anthology Twentieth-Century French Poems. His recent poetry collection Yellow Studio (Carcanet OxfordPoets 2008) was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Amarjit Chandan
is a poet and translator of Punjabi, who has published five collections of his own work. His translations have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications in the UK. His latest publication is: Sonata for Four Hands, Collection of Poems (Arc 2010).
John Greening
has written twelve poetry collections, studies of British and Irish poets, and the recentPoetry Masterclass (2011). His most recent collection To The War Poets (Carcanet 2014) includes new translations of German war poets.
How to buy ticketsHow to find the venue
Tickets cost £9.50 if booked online:

Otherwise tickets cost £11.50
Box Office 020 7520 1490

For general enquiries or comments, please use our online feedback form or email

The World War I event takes place at 7pm on Monday 13th October 2014 in Hall One at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9A.

map of Kings Place
Poet in the City is an organisation which creates new audiences for poetry through an eclectic programme of events, new commissions and education work. Charity Commission number 1117354, Company limited by guarantee 05819413. For more information telephone 0207 014 2812, email, visit the website or write to Poet in the City, Kings Place Music Foundation, Music Base, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.
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Kings Place Music Foundation, Music Base, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG, United Kingdom

Wednesday 24 September 2014

German WW1 Female Poet - Gertrud Kolmar (1894 - 1943)

With grateful thanks to Martin Zieren for researching and translating this information about Gertrud for me.

Gertrud Kolmar (1894 - 1943)

Along with Nelly Sachs, Rose Ausländer, and Else Lasker-Schüler Gertrud is considered to be one of the most significant German Jewish female poets. 

Gertrud Chodziesner was born in Berlin in Chodziez (in German: Kolmar) in the Prussian Province of Posen.  She grew up in Berlin and attended private schools. Her father was a criminal defence lawyer and her mother Elise, nee Schoenflies was from a wealthy merchant family. Gertrud grew up in a family that loved literature - her father had some of his work published in the local paper.   She worked in a kindergarten and studied Russian before qualifying as a translator.

Gertrud became pregnant following her first and disappointing love affair at age 18 and her parents forced her to have an abortion, causing a crisis and a suicide attempt.  This upheaval and trauma in her life increased her sensitivity for human hardships, which is evident in her first volume of poetry - "Im Herbst" ("In Autumn"). This was followed by a volume called "Gedichte" (Poems), published in 1917 by Egon Fleischel & Co., Berlin. Gertrud adopted the pen name of Gertrud Kolmar.

During the First World War Gertrud worked from 1916 - 1917 as an interpreter and censor in the POW camp Döberitz near Berlin.

After WW1, Gertrud worked as a governess and taught handicapped children.   She travelled to France where she trained as an interpreter but had to return home due to her mother's deteriorating health.  After the death of her mother in 1930, Gertrud took on the role of her father's secretary.

Gertrud's most important volume of work came after 1920, her last known work apparently being in 1937. 

Gertrud was sent to a labour camp to work in a munitions factory in 1941 and her father deported to a concentration camp where he died.  Gertrud was sent to Auschwitz where she died on 2nd March 1943 in Auschwitz.

In 1993 a blue plaque was placed on Gertrud's family home and a street in Berlin was named after her.

Here is an example of one of Gertrud's poems which I think is particularly apt.  For an English Translation of the poem, please see the website All Poetry: 

Die Dichterin (The Female Poet)

Du hältst mich in den Händen ganz und gar.
Mein Herz wie eines kleinen Vogels schlägt
In deiner Faust. Der du dies liest, gib acht;
Denn sieh, du blätterst einen Menschen um.
Doch ist es dir aus Pappe nur gemacht,

Aus Druckpapier und Leim, so bleibt es stumm
Und trifft dich nicht mit seinem großen Blick,
Der aus den schwarzen Zeichen suchend schaut,
Und ist ein Ding und hat sein Dinggeschick.

Und ward verschleiert doch gleich einer Braut,
Und ward geschmückt, daß du es lieben magst,
Und bittet schüchtern, daß du deinen Sinn
Aus Gleichmut und Gewöhnung einmal jagst,

Und bebt und weiß und flüstert vor sich hin:
"Dies wird nicht sein." Und nickt dir lächelnd zu.
Wer sollte hoffen, wenn nicht eine Frau?
Ihr ganzes Treiben ist ein einzig: "Du..."

Mit schwarzen Blumen, mit gemalter Brau,
Mit Silberketten, Seiden, blaubesternt.
Sie wußte manches Schönere als Kind
Und hat das schöne andre Wort verlernt. -

Der Mann ist soviel klüger, als wir sind.
In seinen Reden unterhält er sich
Mit Tod und Frühling, Eisenwerk und Zeit;
Ich sage:"Du..." und immer:"Du und ich."

Und dieses Buch ist eines Mädchens Kleid,
Das reich und rot sein mag und ärmlich fahl,
Und immer unter liebem Finger nur
Zerknittern dulden will, Befleckung, Mal.

So steh ich, weisend, was mir widerfuhr;
Denn harte Lauge hat es wohl gebleicht,
Doch keine hat es gänzlich ausgespült.
So ruf ich dich. Mein Ruf ist dünn und leicht.
Du hörst, was spricht.

Vernimmst du auch, was fühlt?

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Jessica Dismorr - British


Jessica was a poet, illustrator and painter and a member of the Vorticist Movement.

Jessica was born in Gravesend, Kent on 3rd March 1885.  Her father was a wealthy businessman called John Stewart Dismorr.  The family moved to Hampstead in London shortly after Jessica's birth.

After studying at the Slade School of Art in London Jessica went to study in France before opening her own studio in King's Road, Chelsea.  She met Wyndham Lewis and signed the Vorticist Manifesto in 1914.

During the First World War Jessica nursed in France and then joined the American Friends Service Committee.  Her wartime experiences upset Jessica so much that she had a nervous breakdown in 1920, when her doctors advised her not to paint.   Friends however urged her to continue painting and exhibiting her work, which she did for the remainder of her life.  

Jessica died in London on 29th August 1939.

Picture:  Self Portrait by Jessica Dismorr from Google Images.

Source:  Wikipedia

Sunday 7 September 2014


With grateful thanks to Martin Zieren who noticed that some errors had slid into yesterday's post about the German-language poets he researched:

"... thanks for putting the female poets up in your blog.  Some spelling corrections:  Anni Faber (scrap one e), Andrea Frahm (with m, not n), Sophie Luebcke (insert the e, since your keyboard does not have the Umlaut) OR press the alt=key and then 0252 on your numeric key pad, that's the Windows shortcut for lower case u-Umlaut, see

Thank you very much indeed Martin.  I will add that to my List of Things to Do Today.

Saturday 6 September 2014

More German women who wrote poetry during WW1

A huge THANK YOU to Martin Zieren who invested a lot of time and thought in finding some more German, and one Austro-Hungarian, women poets who wrote during the First World War.

I will update my list and bring you news of these poets when I am a little further along with preparations for the next few exhibitions.

In the meantime, this is what Martin so kindly found for me:


Marie Sauer
Marie Feesche (1871 - 1950)
Sophie Lubcke
Julie Kniese
Luise von Brandt
Adelheid Stier
Else Torge (1885 - ?)
Annie Faber
Ina Seidel (1885 - 1974)
Andrea Frahn


Marie Rudofsky

Many thanks indeed Martin for your kind help with my project.