Who still reads poems today or even knows them by heart, what do poems have to do with us and our society, what do we need poems for in schools in Germany today? These and similar questions are the focus of the planned book "Alternative Poems for Germany" ("Gedichtalternativen für Deutschland"). German scholar Dr. Uwe Spörl, one of the project initiators, explains: "We're asking students, student teachers, and other education experts for their favorite poems and what contribution the respective poem can make towards strengthening social cohesion." Poems from different languages will be included.
"From the responses, we will create a collection of 52 poems," says English professor Sabine Doff, co-initiator of the project, "which we then want to read, discuss, stage, and develop further at schools and the university."
Event formats for schoolchildren, teachers, students, education experts, and other education enthusiasts in Bremen will accompany the creation of the publication. At these events, the selected poems will be the focus of attention, for example, they will be presented scenically, linked to exhibition objects, and discussed in various formats. The print publication will be accompanied by an interactive website where anyone interested can participate with their own "alternative poem for Germany."
"To be selected three times in the ‘Eine Uni - ein Buch’ ('One University - One Book') competition is something that, apart from the University of Bremen, only Bard College in Berlin has managed so far. This is a great indication of the creativity and commitment of the members of the University of Bremen to develop transdisciplinary projects. I am excited to see which 52 poems will be selected," says Professor Thomas Hoffmeister, Vice President Academic at the University of Bremen.
"One University - One Book"
The "One University - One Book" initiative, a joint program of the Stifterverband and the Klaus Tschira Foundation in cooperation with DIE ZEIT, aims to understand university as a social form and to engage as many members of the university as possible in dialog through shared reading experiences. As a rule, the competition "One University - One Book" is about choosing a book to talk about and debate for a semester. In 2018, the University of Bremen was selected with Sven Beckert's "Empire of Cotton. A New History of Global Capitalism" and in 2020 with Albert Camus' "The Plague." This year, the university was successful with a variation of this concept and plans to create "Alternative Poems for Germany" - that is, produce the book first before a focus can be placed on it.
The "Stifterverband für deutsche Wissenschaft" (Donors' Association for German Science) brings together around 3,000 companies, business associations, foundations, and private individuals to jointly advance science and education.
Dr. Uwe Spörl
Contemporary German Literary Studies
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-68285
Prof. Dr. Sabine Doff
English Studies / Foreign Language Didactics
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-68170