Europe in Poetry—the Grand Tour
The anthology Grand Tour brings together around 730 poems by important voices of contemporary European poetry. Under the sponsorship of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, editors Federico Italiano and Jan Wagner have worked for four years on this compendium of young European poetry: all included poets were born in or after 1968. The editors’ own experience as poets shows them that European poetry is thriving, and in Grand Tour they offer evidence of the way poets from all over the continent cross national and linguistic boundaries with exhilarating ease. As is further noted in the foreword: now, when the great common project is questioned on the political level, diversity is decried, borders are reappearing, divisions are practically demanded, and nationalistic and separatist movements seem to be gaining ground wherever one looks, there is perhaps no better moment for an anthology whose goal is to present a Europe of poetry in which exchange with and learning from those who speak different languages but are not fundamentally different is the norm, and where multiplicity is seen as an asset.
Particularly prominent in the early 18th century, the so-called Grand Tour was a classical educational tour for young aristocrats, but also for artists and intellectuals. The tour led above all to Italy, but sometimes also to Paris and London, to Athens, Istanbul and Amsterdam, where travelers spent time getting to know the architecture, art, and culture of the places they stayed in order to broaden their horizons and supplement and complete what they’d learned and read with sensual experiences on the ground—which could last months or even years. The title of this book is a reference to these journeys, but it’s not intended only for a privileged upper class, nor is the journey threatened by highwaymen or plagues. To top it all off, this intellectual tour is far more affordable than a trip by train or plane could ever hope to be. The anthology is not meant as a catalogue, nor as a rigorously structured reference work, but rather as a reading adventure. It rewards readers who follow their noses and the pleasure principle, offering room for spontaneous detours and zigzags.
Jan Wagner and Federico Italiano, the editors of the anthology, are traveling through Europe with the book, together with poets included in the anthology. Between March 2019 and September 2020 they’ll visit twelve places, with a varying lineup. The Leukerbad International Literary Festival is the sixth stop of twelve.
Grand Tour. A journey through the young poetry of Europe. Sponsored by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung. Editors: Jan Wagner and Federico Italiano. Carl Hanser Verlag 2019
See detailed programme for place and time
Authors at the Leukerbad International Literary Festival::
Petr Borkovec, Czech Republic
Claire Genoux, Switzerland
Frances Leviston, Scotland
Aleš Šteger, Slovenia