Six poets from opposite sides of the globe are meeting for a special once-in-a-lifetime experience next month.
Transit of Venus Poetry Exchange brings together three German and three
New Zealand poets to witness the Transit of Venus on June 6, followed
by two public presentations in Wellington, where the poets will talk
about the inspiration derived from their transit experiences.
Transit of Venus is a rare astronomical phenomenon where Venus appears
as a small dot gliding across the sun. On June 6, a series of
celebrations will be centred at Tolaga Bay on the East Coast, where
Captain James Cook anchored after witnessing this event in Tahiti in
The German poets visiting New Zealand are Uwe Kolbe,
Brigitte Oleschinski and Ulrike Almut Sandig and will work alongside New
Zealand poets Hinemoana Baker, Glenn Colquhoun and Chris Price in Tolaga Bay.
the Transit, the group will head to Wellington to take part in creative
workshops at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern
New Zealand host and International Institute of Modern
Letters chair Professor Bill Manhire says the poets’ visit offers a
unique opportunity for an international exchange of language and
“Poets have always gazed up at the stars, and it will be
fascinating to watch how these creative minds spark off each other and
to see how an event like the Transit of Venus inspires their work.”
October the New Zealand poets complete the exchange by travelling to
Berlin to meet up with their German counterparts and to reinterpret each
other’s work with the help of translators in a unique cultural
The poets will then travel to Frankfurt to take part in
a programme showcasing New Zealand’s literary and artistic endeavours
as part of the Frankfurt Book Fair, where New Zealand is this year’s
Guest of Honour.
The exchange is being organised by the Ministry
for Culture and Heritage, the Goethe-Institut New Zealand with funding
support from the German Foreign Office, the Berlin Literaturwerkstatt
and Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.
director Bettina Senff said she was proud to be involved in such a
creative endeavour that is not only of historical significance but would
also highlight the talents of both countries’ poets.
Media and the public are invited to two public presentations in Wellington:
Passages: Reading around the Transit
Art Gallery, Victoria University, Wellington Wednesday 13 June 2012 6pm
Free entry A panel discussion with readings: German and New Zealand
poets respond to the Transit of Venus 2012 celebrations at Tolaga Bay,
exploring the process of writing about this extraordinary astronomical
Berlin Poetry Night
Film Archive, Ghuznee St, Wellington Thursday 14 June 2012 5pm Free
entry Listen to the poets from Berlin and to Aurélie Maurin from the
Berlin Literaturwerkstatt introducing the ZEBRA poetry film award and
the online poetry project LYRIKLINE.
For more information contact:
Lucy Orbell, Communications Adviser, Ministry for Culture and Heritage
04 496 6176
027 6222 774
Bill Manhire, International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University
04 463 6808
Goethe-Institut New Zealand
04 385 6924