Poetry rained from the skies on Saturday night in Berlin as 100,000 bookmarks printed with poems by 80 poets from Germany and Chile were dropped on the city from a helicopter.
Lasting for half an hour, the initiative was intended as a protest against war and a message of peace, as well as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the independence of Chile. It was the fifth “poetry rain” project from Chilean art collective Casagrande, which has arranged previous poetry bombing events in Santiago de Chile (2001), Dubrovnik (2002), Gernika (2004) and Warsaw (2009) – all cities which, like Berlin, have suffered aerial bombings during their history.
Organisers say that just as wartime bombings were intended to “break the morale” of the inhabitants of a city, so the poetry bombing “‘builds’ a new city by giving new meaning to events of her tragic past and therefore presenting the city in a whole new original way”.
The Berlin project, for which Casagrande worked with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin as part of the Long Night of Museums, took place in the city’s Lustgarten, where a crowd of thousands had gathered to hear readings and performances by Latin American artists.
Poems dropped from the helicopter circling the area were by poets including Ann Cotten, Karin Fellner, Nora Gomringer, Andrea Heuser, Orsolya Kalász, Björn Kuhligk, Marion Poschmann, Arne Rautenberg, Monika Rinck, Hendrik Rost, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Tom Schulz, Thien Tran, Anja Utler, Jan Wagner, Ron Winkler and Uljana Wolf, according to Lyrikline.org, one of the organisations supporting the project.