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vienna poetry school

 

the vienna poetry school (sfd) was founded by writers, poets, performers and experimental language artists as an independent artists' project in 1991. it started its public work in april 1992, with the organization of 12 classes and an international symposium on the topic of the “teachability and learnability of literature”.

the poetry concept oscillates between “writing” and “multimedia”, between “analog” and “digital”, between “native language”, “foreign language” and “multilingualism”.

sfd does not offer any formal education in a classical sense. instead, it organizes instructive encounters with renowned authors. the focus is on practical exercises.

along with analog and digital classes, the poetry school organizes symposia, concerts, readings, discussions, round table discussions, lectures, exhibitions, presentations, and multimedia performances.

topics include written poetry, oral poetry, experimental poetry, audiovisual poetry, visual poetry, acoustic poetry, concrete poetry, performative poetry, poésie sonore, beat poetry, prose, pop music, songwriting, film, video, new media, installations, and performances.  

the following are some of the authors and artists who have worked at sfd:
australia: nick cave; austria: h.c. artmann, wolfgang bauer, ann cotten, falco, christine huber, christian loidl, christian ide hintze, gert jonke, anna kim, markus köhle, friederike mayröcker, felix mitterer, ernst molden, roland neuwirth, rosa pock-artmann, peter rosei, tex rubinowitz, gerhard rühm, robert schindel, julian schutting, heinrich steinfest, marlene streeruwitz; bulgaria: ilija trojanow; canada: christian bök; columbia: fernando rendón, angela garcia; denmark: inger christensen; france: henri chopin; germany: blixa bargeld, augusta & kalle laar, boris lauterbach; guatemala: humberto ak’abal; indonesia: ayu utami; russia: andrej novikov; somalia: waris dirie; switzerland: sibylle berg, dorothee elmiger, heike fiedler, nora gomringer; usa: allen ginsberg, anne waldman, ed sanders, anne tardos; vietnam: huynh khai vinh; and many more!

the sfd archives consist of numerous audio and video documentaries, which present the authors at work in the classes and on stage.

the sfd was a major contributor to the founding of the escuela de poesía (medellín/col) and the institute of language arts - instituts für sprachkunst (university of applied arts vienna). furthermore, the sfd is a founding member of the eacwp – european association of creative writing programmes. >> http://sfd.at/en/sfd-eacwp

sfd is a non-profit organization (supported by the federal chancellery of austria / arts section and the cultural department of the city of vienna).

artistic director: fritz ostermayer, author, musician, performer, radio editor & producer

initiator of the sfd and director until 2012: christian ide hintze, lyricist, performance & multimedia poet

 

“i’m interested in your efforts to found a poetry school in
vienna. if it is done so that the teachers themselves have accomplished
some ‘notable work’ of poetry, it can be a useful
community with practical results in knowledge & inspiration.”
allen ginsberg, 1991

 

models:

the last school of poetry of any significance in europe, namely the school of sappho in mytilini, on lesbos, some 2,600 years ago, as well as the jack kerouac school of disembodied poetics in boulder, colorado, usa, founded in 1974 by allen ginsberg and anne waldman – however, sfd also takes special account of local traditions: the viennese coffeehouse, “wiener gruppe” (vienna group), “wiener aktionismus” (vienna actionism), visual, acoustic and concrete poetry, and language philosophy.

 

“the goal of the vienna poetry school is to build a kingdom of
poetry. the first step is to develop a school for poetry, including
indonesia. sound poetry will be the main material to be
taught, especially how sound poetry can overcome language
semantics. it is like a mantra, an abundance in the oral tradition
of indonesia.” ayu utami, 2003 on the occasion of an sfd-class in indonesia

 

aim:

autonomously adminstered institute for teaching and learning of literature; a place for poetological communication; an academy for research into letters and uttered sound; archive for poetico-pedagogical documents (audio, video and written); laboratory for the transformation of literary impulses into community events; welcome center for travelling poets.

 

“the schule für dichtung has given new dimension to the
possibilities of infra-structure poetics, which to my mind is a
poetics of creating a space available […] essentially to all who
would want to join a work-in-progress, a temporary autonomous
zone that has an ethos that runs parallel […] to the
mainstream.” anne waldman, 2012 on the occasion of 20 years vienna poetry school

 

main focus / activities:

  • discussion of the teachability and learnability of literature
  • multimedia & multilingual aspects of language art
  • the linguo-political situation in europe
  • organisation of digital classes
    (virtual academy since 1997)
  • analog classes
  • readings / performances / lectures / exhibitions
  • publications of books, cds, videos, websites
  • written-, audio-, video-archive: collection and documentation of thematically relevant publications

 

work areas:

oral and written poetry, audiovisual and digital poetry, drama, oral and written prose, performance, installation(s), exhibitions

 

faculty:

http://sfd.at/lehren-und-lernen/faculty (biographies in german, some in english)

 

students:

approximately 60% female – 40% male; appr. 80% austrian – 20% from abroad

participation numbers since 1992:
- analog classes: appr. 2,800 participants (appr. 10% professionals – 50% experienced authors – 40% amateurs)
- online-classes: appr. 7,000 participants
(as of 2014)

 

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builders of poetry worlds.
vienna poetry school. video conversations with christian ide hintze
a film by tina bara (68 min), sfd 2013
dvd (german with english subtitles) + booklet (in english, 34 pages)

ide hintze on the history of the vienna poetry school, about eros, the street, sappho, embers, the coffee house, writing in the water, etc. anecdotes, amongst others, on allen ginsberg, christian loidl, henri chopin, h. c. artmann, blixa bargeld, falco, friederike mayröcker.

>> info

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nick cave with his students (class at sfd in 1998)


4 poets + 1 scientist: robert schindel, roland neuwirth, marlene streeruwitz,
rudolf muhr, ide hintze (from left to right)    © vienna poetry school / andy urban


gerhard rühm teaching "visual poetry" (2009)   © vienna poetry school / harriet nachtmann


bob holman, ide hintze, sainkho namtchylak (2010)   © vienna poetry school / andy urban


seasons with allen ginsberg. an evening with gordon ball (usa) at sfd 2014
josef schützenhöfer, fritz ostermayer (sfd), gordon ball (from left to right)
© vienna poetry school