The Schamrock Festival of Women Poets - Editorial

Never before have there been so many young women poets and so many ways to publish one’s own texts, whether via Internet forums, on one’s own website or, as in the past, in literary magazines and anthologies. Small publishing houses too have not emigrated into the new media, but have actually increased in number. Is it necessary to add the impetus of a special festival to make all these poetic voices audible?

The Schamrock Salon of Women Poets in Munich has always been more than merely a place for readings, but also a venue for discussions about the conditions under which women write poetry. The participants’ comments reaffirm what a glance at the tables of contents of recent anthologies reveals: namely, that there cannot be enough support and dissemination for texts written by women poets.

Co-founded in 2008 by me and the author Gabriele Trinckler, the Schamrock Salon has evolved into an international and intergenerational network for women poets. With numerous events each year, it has created a forum for presentation, sharing and readings, accompanied by a continually growing Web anthology. In the meantime I have become the Salon’s sole director and I see it as my task to establish the Salon as an international and local platform for communication among women poets.

During the first three decades of the 20th century, Munich was a center of a revolutionary cultural upheaval sparked by young female literati. The Salon understands itself as a continuation of this tradition.

Our desire to celebrate and support women’s poetry motivated us in to create a festival expressly for women poets in 2012 – very possibly the first of its kind. We presented women poets, young and old, from many countries in different languages. The diversity of female voices spun the entire spectrum of contemporary poetic work: from classical forms, through thematically related writing and lyrical prose, to synergetic cooperation with other artistic genres, as well as lectures and a workshop.

The 1. Schamrock-Festival of Women Poets took place in Munich, Germany from the 19. to the 21. October 2012. More then 45 women poets from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Southern Tyrol, Finland and the USA joined for a big reading festival, crossing borders and embracing all generations.

The audience was invited not only to meet well known authors - like Marlene Streeruwitz, Ilma Rakusa, Ruth Klüger, Swantje Lichtenstein, Dorothea Grünzweig, Martina Hefter, Lydia Daher and Tanja Dückers - but also to discover interesting new names. For three days the poetesses and their texts took the center stage.

Here they offerd the whole spectrum of classical as well as experimental forms of poetry, priding itself of being the „queen of the literary arts“.

The program included readings, talks and interviews with the authors, discussions and films. Performers with bands made the words dance, and lectures and workshops asked questions about poetry and poetics, like: can we find a specific female sound in recent poetry? Or: what kind of role does poetry play in a globalized world?

"The Festival was a total success" wrote the influential Süddeutsche Zeitung. That motivated us to continue the Festival as a Bienial to present and celebrate the great variety of lyrical, artistic and musical expressions of poetry with an international group of women poets.

We invite you to enjoy this cornucopia of imagination and encounter with more than 40 woman poets throughout the three days of the first Schamrock Festival!

Augusta Laar, artistic director