Performance poetry with Heike Fiedler


We associate poetry with a world full of beauty and peace, the imaginary world in which the poet lives. But, with the passage of time this perception is changing with literature slowly evolving to reflect the real world. Poetry has moved on from the usual style of verse and rhyme. It is almost like the spoken word and has more impact as deals directly with reality.
Heike Fiedler, author, poet, performer, sound and visual artist from Geneva, Switzerland has indulged in such ‘real’ poetry for the past fourteen years, collaborating with musicians, and contributing to various publications, anthologies, CDs, and books.
Since the 2000, she has extensively performed her writings at poetry festivals, music festivals, literature readings, and libraries. She ‘performs’ poetry with the help of a laptop, paper, modul8 (application designed for real time video mixing and compositing), real-time-electronics and a pencil.
“I work with words and the sounds associated with them. I don’t just recite my poems, but perform them with various tools”, says Heike, who is in Goa to make a poetry performance at Sunaparanta-Goa Centre for the Arts.
This is a travelling event organised by Pro Helvetia-Swiss Arts Council and Heike is starting this event from Goa.
Speaking about her poetry, Heika states, “My poems are far from romantic and hardly have any verse and no rhyme. More like speaking, my poems are not about expressing sentimental feelings but are a tool to comment on social and political situations.”
Heika mentions that poetry comes to her organically and for which she uses all her senses. Born in West-Germany, she is fluent with German, French and English and it is this understanding of languages that is reflected in her performance. “I go by the sound of the words and not exactly by meaning”, says Heika for whom how the word sounds is very important to understanding words and languages.
She maintains that such new forms of presenting poems or any other art form are necessary, for art to evolve with time. Elaborating on this form of poetry, she says, “In Europe we started realising that poetry was restricted to books. It was not coming out in the open by way of poetry recitation session, etc. Hence, we started this new form of poetry whereby you perform and project words.”
Heika also suggests that this form was a way to gain the attention of youth. “We expect our youth to study poetry of the 19th century. While it is important we know this type of poetry, we also have to understand that the youth cannot relate to it anymore. Therefore, this form of poetry or for that matter slang poetry (which uses rhymes) is gaining in popularity in Europe because it speaks the same language as the youth.”
Heika, as mentioned earlier, likes to make statements through her poetry and so it is not surprising when she speaks about gender issues, local politics and even deals with broader topics like how we treat strangers, etc.
On a concluding note, when asked whether literature has the power to bring about the social change, she says, “I don’t think poetry or literature can bring in change. But, it can definitely contribute to change. It is a tool to interrogate through which the conclusion that something has to change can be drawn.”
(Pro Helvetia-Swiss Arts Council and Sunaparanta-Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho, Panaji, are hosting a poetry performance by Swiss author and poet, Heike Fiedler on September 19 at 6.45 p.m. Heike Fiedler works in the fields of text, sound, visuals, performance, installation and intervention in public space. The session will be moderated by poet Madhav Borcar. The event is open to all.)


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