2019, Sun, Jun 16

Floating Alphabet

© Cecilia Poupon

© Cecilia Poupon

“apricot trees exist, apricot trees exist” – with this simple and enigmatic line starts one of the most influential poems of recent literary history: the alfabet by the writer Inger Christensen (1935–2009) attempts to name and relate all the things the world is made of. International poets will read this boundless poem on a nocturnal boat ride.

In Inger Christensen’s 1981 long poem alfabet, poetic language blends with mathematics and science. Based on the Fibonacci sequence, an infinite series of numbers that describes both plant growth and reproduction within a rabbit population, the poet systematically counts her way up in words through what “exists.” The world is born again, through language alone. Written against the backdrop of the Cold War and the arms race, the poem reveals what is at stake – today as it was then.

With Daniel Falb, Christian Filips, Dagmara Kraus, Monika Rinck among others

In the frame of the literature series Alphabet Readings, part of The New Alphabet