EdBelleville BritLitBerlin
Einer unserer Preisträger, Edward Belleville, während des Literaturseminars. ©

© British Council

Ein Gedichtwettbewerb, der neue Stimmen hervorbringt

Unser Gedichtwettbewerb, der im Vorfeld der #BritLitBerlin 2018 stattfand, hat neue, beeindruckende KünstlerInnen in den Mittelpunkt gerückt.

Wir haben interessierte DichterInnen eingeladen, ein Stück auf Englisch zu erstellen, das auf die zentralen Themen des Seminars reagiert: Gender und Sexualität. Die vielen und vielfältigen Beiträge kamen aus Deutschland, Großbritannien und sogar weiter entfernt. Wie bedanken uns bei allen, die teilgenommen haben!

Nach dem Auswahlprozess durch eine Jury von Literaturexperten des British Council, freuen wir uns die acht Gewinner verkünden zu dürfen. Jeder der acht DichterInnen hat Tickets für die Teilnahme am Literatur Seminar erhalten.

Die Gewinnerbeiträge:

Edward Belleville


You took your body into battle
through the streets of the capital
and suffered the hail of names, two years torn
from your clutch of meat.

In the plunge pool you do handstands
and scoff at towel regulation.
Share mine.

What’s made of you?
I palm the signs of what they did and hear your bones untick
the criminality of words
more foreign to me than the thickness of your throat
and the lock of your eye
and the heat I breathe in.

Pursed lips over the hollow of the spoon,
you blow
on işkembe çorbası, dogged French and other
unabashed vowels of which
only the ripples
are visible.

Charlie Dupré


I'm listening
And I will always step in
But have I ever...?
Of course not.


Not with my hands anyway.

Maybe just with my tongue
Maybe just with my eyes
Maybe just with my brain

My man-brain

But my man-brain does its own things
I'm not responsible for those

...am I?

Marie-Teresa Hanna

Extract from Coptic Orthodox marriage vows (to the bride):

“So you must receive him with joy and cheer, do not frown in his presence.
Do not ignore any of his rights upon you and fear God in all your deeds with him.
Because God the Most High commanded you to submit to him and obey him as you obeyed your parents.”

Staring at my mother’s grave

I stare at my mother’s grave,
In reflection of the women that ran through her veins.
I take the last red rose and throw it on her coffin, my father clutches my sleeve to steady himself, brothers by his side.
Other women wail, but mine is silent, private, away from prying eyes to see. Her sister’s is the loudest.
Fly your wings, Mama, you are finally free.
A cold chill climbs up my spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, penetrating my naked body dressed in black.
Behind me I hear their whispers, as they glare at me – She’s too young and virginal to wear black, what husband is going to want to marry her with that medical history? I guess her mother’s in a better place, blessed to be with God, such a shame about her family.

I stand alone, staring at my mother’s grave. A bird begins to sing, I watch it fly away.

Esther Heller


“The day you walk down these streets half naked
shaking your ass for all to see, is the day I will stop being proud of you,”

the age dots on your hands glistening,
your phone saver image 40 years younger than you,
gallery squared genitals,

you met her when she was 25
see through shirt
you had never seen such big breasts
she hated them
her neck hanging bowing to your blue eyes
it wasn’t gravity
it was you and the weight of everything you owned.

My petals had started to bloom
fingers touching sweet tip
tingle, warmth different but soothing
mother saw me and told me God did too,
I would never be happy, good does not happen when you are alone

mother saw a lot of things
the words you spoke
she read like fiction
your lips she kissed and saw her too

the womb that had birthed us was invaded
the long paradise beach like the stretch mother had been born on
was invaded by crabs that dug holes so deep
the remains of her piling, mount of yellow sand seeping
through her eyes

mother never saw how
you traded us for a hand job
but I know she did

Milena Merrill

Who am I

Who am I 
If I don’t look like the way I am supposed to 

Who am I 
If I don’t conform to what they tell me to be  

Who am I 
If I am not male nor female 

Who am I 
If I love wrong according to you 

Who am I 
In this world full of expectations 

Who am I 
In this madness which we call society  

Who am I 
If my hopes wishes desires just want me to be free to love and be 

Who are we if we don’t fit
Are we allowed to stay?
To prosper? To be? 
Who are we. 

We are we. And always shall be. 

Jacinta Perez Gavilan Torres


let me burst

purple balloons on your head
your neck


Kay Rufai


I struggle with what i can't understand
I antagonise what i can't define
How dare you see me and have the courage to leap outside of this paradise I’ve constructed you
How dare you exercise the right to be fr(HE)e when it’s easier to fall in line like the rest of the (SHE)ep
How dare you stretch your hands out for the w(HE)el, surely I don’t have to spell it out for you to know the drill.
This is my world, even James could testify to it.
This is the world where my tears never fall for you to see
This is the world where the fear of being vulnerable is shielded by this masked bravado you see 
Strip me of this burden if you care
Strip me of this stranger to whom his coarse layers I share
Strip me down to the real essence hidden behind shame and despair
And maybe then…this so-ci-(HE)-ty could be fr(HE)
Strip me so maybe this naked society could be for you and me

Donjeta Sopi

Who they don't want me to be

I am.
My father’s face.
My father’s eyes. 

I am.
My mother’s lips.
My mother’s thighs. 

I am.
My father’s legs.
And my father’s arms. 

I am.
My mother’s heartbreak.
And my mother’s cries.

Don’t they see.

I am.
Half woman. Half man. 

I am.