Editor’s Note: The photographs are by Dr. Zank and were exhibited at the Beat Poetry Festival.
When in July 2015 I was asked by Yvon Cornier and Colin Haskins to be the host for Germany to the National Beat Poetry Festival initiated and coordinated in Connecticut, USA, I could hardly imagine that the time I had at my disposal would be enough for the extensive preparations such an event implied, all the more so as I knew I would be travelling the whole of August. But back to Munich at the beginning of September, I started dealing with this fascinating issue which encompassed poets hosting readings or events in their respective states and for other countries as well. The organisers described the event as follows:
“The National Beat Poetry Festival, as a non-profit organization, is dedicated to hosting, collaborating, and fostering joint partnerships for Beat themed poetry readings, workshops, plays, radio shows and much more locally and across America – and even internationally at times. […] The Beat Generation’s significant writings and history of its original prime movers lives on from its inception in the early 1940’s, and its legacy continues today by way of new writers, poets and artists of disparate influences and means of expression.”
A challenging description, indeed, and of special significance to me since my own involvement with the Beat movement had started as early as my student time in Bucharest which I finished with a diploma paper on “The American Poetry in Romanian Periodicals in the 1960s and 1970s”. For a communist country like Romania was at that time, the amount of American poetry translated was tremendous and the Beats were duly represented. But then don’t forget that President Nixon visited Romania in 1969, and the bilateral collaboration with America had reached an unparalleled level.
The vision of what the Beats have been for their time but also for the years to follow generated the title of our event “Imagine the Beats”. It was meant to be a complex tribute to this generation of multifaceted poets and writers in an interplay of readings, music and photography, all in the Beat spirit, of which this short film is just a sample.
The event took place on September 24th in Gasteig, a renowned cultural centre in Munich, with the participation of further two poets, a singer and composer and myself as poet and photographer. We aimed at and were glad to be successful in motivating the audience to actively join us during the performance.
© 2015, feature, photographs and video, Aprilia Zank, Ph.D., Lecturer for Creative Writing and Translation in the Department of Languages at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany; All rights reserved