2008 poetics stojanovic

dragan stojanović :
cyber sappho
we are at the crossroads between written and digital era

christian ide hintze, austrian poet, a guest at the international novi sad literature festival, on the return of poetry to its roots

christian ide hintze, an austrian lyric, audio and video poet, and performer, director of the academy of poetry in vienna, thrilled the audience at the international novi sad literature festival with his unusual performance. hintze spoke poems, danced on stage, played a self-made instrument, and introduced a theory:
“at the beginning of the creation of civilization, poetry was one of the basic human activities, involving body movements, ritual dancing, customs... everything that was happening in the community was related to poetry. however, after the invention of letters, poetry was reduced to the written word, and that diminished its value.”
hintze's unusual theory holds that only after a long period of the domination of writing, and discovery of new media, audio and video tapes, and subsequently of digital technologies and internet, did poetry return to its roots.

“it seems a bit strange, but technology has got poetry back to square one”, hintze is categorical. “my favorite poet is sappho from lesbos, because she performed in the period of transition from oral tradition to writing. she was active during the transition between two eras and practically had them connected with eachother. we, today, are in a similar situation, but going in a different direction. we live in a time of transition from written era to a period which still hasn’t got an adequate name. one of the transitional solutions is digital era, but the right name is still to be found.”

although being a great experimenter, hintze thinks that language remains the key weapon of poets.
“there is no poetry without language - that's for sure - and all further experimenting without using language goes out of the domain of poetry, and moves into the domain of dance or music”, says hintze, explaining that the new poetry isn't too popular, although there are festivals in europe at which one can hear the second voice as well. “i think that the festival in novi sad slowly opens the door to a different perception of poetry, above all thanks to jovan zivlak, the director of the festival, and i’m sure that this trend will be more clearly seen next year.”
the austrian poet says that there are an increasing number of young people who accept different approaches to poetry, especially djs, who combine the lyrics and music they mix.

“i like to work with people who are ready to do something new”, hintze says. “for that reason, my favorite associates are musicians who discover new instruments, especially electronic machines that can be used for making incredible sounds. so far i’ve constructed several electronic music instruments, and one of them has been seen and heard by the audience at the novi sad festival.”
the greatest impression upon this guest of the literature festival was made by the slam poetry contest, with “common people” and not the “professional” poets, as participants.
“it is interesting to see that the audience is reacting very well to something that is new for them and that they can take part in by rating the poets”, hintze says excited.
“i hope that the festival managers will organize a similar contest next year, too. i only expect that poets will be a little bit more accustomed with the slam poetry and that they will have courage to improvise more and describe real life situations with their poems, or simply to tell others with their verses what is going on in the bar at that moment. that’s always interesting to the audience.”

slam poetry
ivan danikov from zrenjanin was the first winner of the slam poetry contest which was held at café “bistro”. the award was given out by ide hintze, who presented to the audience the way slam poetry is performed together with ben okry, the laureate of the “novi sad” award. the cheerful austrian and the nigerian exchanged improvised verses for a couple of minutes, adding to the joy of many in attendance. (...)

(dragan stojanović in: vecernje novosti, belgrade, serbia, august, 30, 2008. original language: serbian)