Bundestag: a poet for parliament? What it’s all about

Poetry in Parliament
A parliamentarian for the Bundestag? What it’s all about

Should there be a poet in the German Bundestag? Opinions are divided.

© David GANNON / AFP

Should there be a parliamentary poet in the Bundestag? The advance of three authors generates praise and criticism. Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt is enthusiastic about it. Wolfgang Kubicki considers it an “elitist project”.

Do we need poetry in the German Bundestag? The authors Mithu Sanyal and Simone Buchholz and the author Dmitrij Kapitelman think yes. The three had askedthat the Bundestag creates the office of a parliamentarian on the Canadian model. Such an office could serve “as an irritation, as a disruptive factor” and at the same time “build bridges” and “heal cracks in our society”.

Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) described the proposal as a “noteworthy impulse”. “We should take every clever thought on how we can strengthen our culture and the awareness of our language in terms of freedom and democracy,” said Göring-Eckardt to the editorial network Germany (RND) last week. She announced an early meeting with the initiators.

Parliamentary Poet: Canada as a model

The Canadian Parliament created the position in 2001. The poet or the poet who has the official title “The Parliamentary Poet Laureate” carries, write texts for special parliamentary events, hold poetry readings and advise the parliamentary library on the acquisition of cultural material. There are similar positions in the USA and other countries.

“A strong culture and respectful use of our language are essential for any open society,” said Göring-Eckardt. She wanted to “gladly pick up” the impetus for a parliamentary poet and “talk to the initiators about how we in parliament can also pursue the valuable issue of promoting culture and language.”

“The Bundestag has become more diverse, but it does not yet represent the whole of society,” said initiator Simone Buchholz of the RND. “We would like someone to work there who is not welcome from the start, disrupts operations and makes people think. For example, they only deal with armaments lobbyism for two years – and the Bundestag has to endure that. Or a young one Turkish rapper takes over the office. “

Wolfgang Kubicki: “elitist project”

Göring-Eckardt’s colleague Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) has spoken out against the idea. “I can not win much from the proposal,” said Kubicki the “Tagesspiegel” according to the report on Tuesday. Above all, he sees “that there is a great misunderstanding of artistic activity behind this idea,” said the FDP politician and added: “Artists should actually be thorns in the flesh of the rulers, not their employees.”

According to Kubicki, it would be better “to give all artists who have been hard hit by the pandemic the opportunity to work freely instead of implementing such an elitist project.”


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