The Poet and Suleika: A West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music

23 May poet

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An evening of poetry and music to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan

With Nujoom al-Ghanem, Paul Farley, Don Paterson and Eric Ormsby reading poetry from the West-Eastern Divan and A New Divan and ‘Hafis Lieder’ by Gottfried von Einem, ‘Suleika’ by Franz Schubert and ‘Hatem’ by Hugo Wolf sung by Simon Wallfisch.

In 1814 Goethe read the poems of the 14th-century Persian poet Hafiz in a new German translation by Joseph von Hammer and was immediately inspired to create a Divan of his own.

Not long afterwards he met Marianne von Willemer. She became Suleika to his Hatem and the conversation begun with Hafiz blossomed into a duet for two lovers in the ‘Book of Suleika’, which is at the heart of the West-Eastern Divan (1819), Goethe’s late great sequence of poems.

At the centre of the ‘Book of Suleika’ are five poems, which Goethe published as his own but were in fact composed by his young lover Marianne; it is these poems that were set to music by Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf. This event aims to celebrate Goethe’s achievement but also to redress the appropriation and move the historical and poetic Suleika firmly into the spotlight in an evening of music and poetry.


Name: The Poet and Suleika: A West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £15.00
Member: £15.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Student: £10.00
Registered Unemployed: £10.00
Under 18: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546