3 Dez

Presse: Arizona Daily Sun 2017

3. Dec. 2017, Ari­zona Dai­ly Sun
Feuilleton/ Arts and Living.
Auf dem Titel­blatt steht: 

A poet­ry ambassador
Safiye Can urges stu­dents to read, feel“

Artikel auf erster Seite des Feuil­letons “Arts & Liv­ing” und S. B2 geht es weit­er. Online Link

Ambassador for Poetry: Safiye Can urges students to read, see, feel poems






Before read­ing her poem “Der Garten” (The Gar­den), Ger­man author Safiye Can holds up the page from her book of poet­ry for her audi­ence to see.

In the poem’s title, the let­ters G and A dip low­er than the rest as if to invite the read­er to plant some­thing in the void. The words of the poem are in the shape of a tree, or maybe a well-groomed bush, or maybe a flower bud, or what­ev­er the read­er sees.

This is what the poem looks like,” she says.

Can encour­ages peo­ple to read, see and feel the poet­ry. She visu­al­izes her verse and gives it form. This typo­graph­i­cal device is often called con­crete poet­ry, where mean­ing is con­veyed not only through words, but also through shape and form.

The poems are not fin­ished if they don’t get this form,” she said of her work.

Can read Thurs­day after­noon to a group of Ger­man lan­guage stu­dents in the stu­dent union at North­ern Ari­zona Uni­ver­si­ty. A pop­u­lar poet in her home coun­try, this is her first vis­it to the Unit­ed States. She came to Flagstaff cour­tesy of the Ger­man Embassy in the U.S., NAU’s depart­ment of Glob­al Lan­guages and Cul­ture and oth­er uni­ver­si­ty and Ger­man sponsors.

As an ambas­sador of poet­ry, her slo­gan is “Lest Gedichte!” In Eng­lish: “Read Poems!” Around her neck she wears a chain with the word “poet­ry” scrolled on it.

Ger­mans don’t often read poems, so I work for this,” she told the NAU students.

When peo­ple think of poet­ry, often­times they think of some­thing old or fore­gone. But Can’s poems are youth­ful, mod­ern and inviting.

We don’t always real­ize that poet­ry is all around us, espe­cial­ly in music, she said, like in hip-hop music or oth­er song lyrics. “These are also poetry.” 

She said much can be trans­mit­ted through a sin­gu­lar poem: “The com­pact­ness of poet­ry is what gives it its zing.”

At age 40, Can is the recip­i­ent of two pres­ti­gious Ger­man lit­er­ary awards, the Else-Lasker-Schüler poet­ry prize and the Alfred Müller Felsen­burg prize for civ­il courage.

She was born in Offen­bach, Ger­many, to Cir­cass­ian par­ents who emi­grat­ed from the Black Sea region of Turkey. Her poems touch on top­ics of love, rela­tion­ships, home and place.

From one of her poems, she read, “Do not tell my uncle that I became a poet. He’ll start cry­ing again.”


She said the lines touch on the expe­ri­ence of many artists — the strug­gle to accom­plish their art and thrive from it.

It’s the real­i­ty of many artists. … Your fam­i­ly wor­ries about you,” she said. That’s the irony though, “With­out their sup­port, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”

Can says poet­ry is not prof­itable. She said that only recent­ly she’s been able to live off her writ­ing, and the funds do not come pri­mar­i­ly from her pub­lished works but from the speak­ing and read­ing engage­ments that come from them.

Can is expect­ed to share her poet­ry dur­ing the pub­lic seg­ment of Tuesday’s meet­ing of the Flagstaff City Coun­cil. She said she would like to cre­ate a poem about Flagstaff, but she’s not yet sure it will come to her.

Dur­ing her time with the NAU stu­dents, some­one asked what inspires her poetry.

She respond­ed, “Every­thing!” But poet­ry requires time, she said.

Writ­ing poet­ry is a jour­ney [and] you don’t know where it will take you. … It takes time. It needs to be tak­en seriously.”

Will Can find inspi­ra­tion in Flagstaff? It’s pos­si­ble she said. “First, I need to feel it.”