On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. And the mined and barbed-wired no man’s land became everyone’s: a long, green open space in the middle of the city, a place for biking, walking dogs, for impromptu concerts, illegal campfires and beer from the bottle. Thankfully, as the rest of the city has changed almost past recognition, this space has remained, tamed perhaps, but still green, still open, still there for everyone.
Purely by chance, this issue of no man’s land features two stories that trace the arc of this Wende, or “turn”: Julia Schoch’s evocation of the GDR in the little-girl brutality of summer camp, and Emma Braslavsky’s shifting “Amplitudes” of pre- and post-Wende friendship. Purely by chance, and fittingly so; despite the frenzy of commemoration, Berlin, and Germany, defines itself less and less by the rigid borders of its past and more and more by the fluid present, less by collective experiences and more by a multitude of personal and cultural imaginations. In Sudabeh Mohafez’s story “Sediment”, Berlin’s history-laden heart dissolves, a palimpsest through which the mountain Damavand shimmers. Claudius Hagemeister’s farcical Grim Reaper escorts us unceremoniously from post-Wall to posthumous reality. While in Keto von Waberer’s tender “Stella”, life after death is “an intermediate kingdom where animals ruled”.
This issue’s poetry also encompasses a range of approaches. In excerpts from Nicolai Kobus’ “imaging procedures”, poems “image” works of art. Hendrik Jackson’s work can be said to “image” poetry itself, referencing the modernism of Mandelstam. Carl-Christian Elze plays with the drive of language itself, while Harald Weinrich looks at language’s historical scripts and shibboleths. And Adrian Kasnitz, Birgit Kreipe and Christoph Wenzel offer highly individual snapshots of land- and cityscapes that seem to slip into the surreal – like the old no man’s land itself.
Isabel Fargo Cole, Katy Derbyshire, Clemens Kuhnert, Alistair Noon, Liesel Tarquini: Editors, no man’s land
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Picture Postcad to O.M.
no sicily, a clothesline in berlin …
Brownish-red and beige walls …
All the eternal chitchat …
SPRING’S a time like …
Capturing in Passing
1, 2 and 3