"I am the shadow for you to hide beneath"


Ulrike Almut Sandig [Germany, 1979]

Ulrike Almut Sandig writes poetry, prose and radio plays. She started as a kind of guerrilla poet, pasting her poems on the lampposts and walls of her hometown of Leipzig. In 2007 she published her first collection, Zunder (‘Tinder’). Her work has inspired numerous poetry films, and she also uses film in her own work. Her poems are musical and highly rhythmic, in a language that combines sober seriousness with humour, irony and nostalgia. Exploring urban realities, they are interwoven with references to nightmares, the Bible, fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Ulrike Almut Sandig enjoys working with composers and musicians, and does so frequently. The rhythmic musicality of her work perfectly lends itself to these kinds of collaborations. Her performance at the festival is to be no exception: the Ukrainian poet and musician Grigory Semenchuk, with whom she forms the poetry band Landschaft, will be joining her on the stage. 

READING: Friday 14 June, 18:20 hrs - Jurriaanse Zaal


good evening, Deutschland, turn the fog lights on 
we’re after telling it like it is, being on cue:

those who want in must chomp their way through
a cake that’s not found anywhere in Grimm;

those who want out are gone in two shakes, quicker
than the time it takes to think of a four-syllable word.

just say three times: milkandhoney, milkandhoney.
we’ve lost our way in your shopping malls

can’t tell them apart any more. in Höxter  
a fat girl buys an angel of clay and asks

at the till: what does hope mean? in Steinheim 
Hakan drinks his coffee strong, he dreamed again 

he swam across a honey-cake-Mediterranean
sea only to be beached at last on the streets

the brown-silt sands of the Land of Milk and Honey.
in Jena after a three-year trial a priest receives   

a hefty fine, for driving towards a police car
to avoid colliding with the line of demonstrators.

my homeland is not only the cities and villages…
it’s also the doorman before them. I dreamed 

he looks like Kaya Yanar and asks for the code word:
tell me the land where the donkeys have silver noses.  

say it three times over: you’re not getting in,
you’re not getting in, you’re –


© 2016, Ulrike Almut Sandig - From: "ich bin ein Feld voller Raps"
Publisher: Schöfling & Co., Frankfurt am Main, 2016
© Translation: 2019, Karen Leeder


The 51st Poetry International Festival will take place from 10 until 13 June 2021. The festival venues are Theater LantarenVenster, Kantine Walhalla en Verhalenhuis Belvédère.

Theater LantarenVenster - Otto Reuchlinweg 996, 3072 MD Rotterdam
Kantine Walhalla - Veerlaan 11, 3072 AN Rotterdam
Verhalenhuis Belvédère - Rechthuislaan 1 3072 LB Rotterdam


Nederlands Letterenfonds
Gemeente Rotterdam
Droom en Daad
Lira Fonds
Stichting Dioraphte
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Rotterdam Festivals

Ludo Pieters Gastschrijversfonds   /   Volkskracht   /   Erasmusstichting   /   G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting   /   Maatschappij tot Nut van't Algemeen   /   Stichting verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot   /   We Jansenfonds