Martin Piekar

Germany

Martin Piekar was born to Polish parents in Germany in 1990. In 2012, he won the Open Mike award for poetry and has since received several distinctions for his worklike Irseer Pegasus and Alfred-Gruber-Preis, both 2018. His first volume of poems titled “Bastard Echo” was published by Verlagshaus Berlin in 2014 and was followed by his second volume “AmokperVers” in 2018. Martin Piekars poetry crosses intercultural boundaries, emotionally grapples with personal development and explores the possibilities of subjectivity in a political realm. 


Essay

Martin Piekar

 

Aussprache is an utterly beautiful German word. Out of context, the word carries several different meanings and therefore is only defined when spoken. Aussprache as pronunciation may refer to the manner in which we articulate a word or words. Here, the word describes the elementary phonetics of a syllable or sentence. On the other hand, as a discussion or articulation, Aussprache may occur between two people – and may bring clarity. This word spans the gap between an utterance and a talk.

Poetry can mind this gap. Poetry utters words, says them and therefore makes them accessible. Like poems, everyday conversations depend on interpretation. But first, the word must be uttered. The utterance side focuses on a public realm open to speakers. Poetry has always been about curiosity in exploring and challenging that realm. What is the mindset of the speaker, which intentions can be gleaned from their words – all these are important for a debate. Poetry is the curiosity in language, in its backgrounds and its speakers. 

Poetry as my artform will always be a uttering one. In utterance, we put words into the public realm and make them accessible. This accessibility enables talks, discussions etc. In uttering words, we do not only utter meaning but also share a part of our truth – every sentence is a personal narrative. There are no unuttered words and no wordless person. The manner of speech is equally important as the contents and the utterance often says just as much about the words as about their speaker.

Poetry has the ability to reflect on these different forms of Aussprache, to try them out and to challenge them through curiosity. As we make words accessible in uttering them, we also make ourselves accessible. The phonetic level of a word changes that word along with the world. My suggestion: read poetry out loud and talk to people about it. The Aussprache will be different and beautiful. Not every gap can be closed, but maybe through art we are able to bridge the gap between (all of) us.