TUEBINGEN/DURHAM LITERARY/ARTS TWINNING
The partnership with County Durham and the City of Tuebingen in South Germany was established in 1969.
Poet Doctor Keith Armstrong, who gained his doctorate at the University on Durham in 2007, following on from Bachelor's and Master's degrees there, first visited Tuebingen in November 1987, with the support of the County Council and the Kulturamt in Tuebingen, to give readings and talks for a period of a month. Since then he has travelled to the city over 30 times and helped arrange for Durham poets, musicians and artists and their counterparts in Tuebingen to visit their respective cultural twins.
NOW A UNIQUE ANTHOLOGY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED TO CELEBRATE THIRTY YEARS OF THE LITERARY TWINNING. IT WILL BE LAUNCHED AT THE KULTURHALLE IN TUEBINGEN ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 17TH AT 18.00. ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN THE CELEBRATION. THERE WILL BE A SIMILAR EVENT IN DURHAM AT A LATER DATE (TO BE ANNOUNCED).
People meet, get to know one another, exchange views – and each time something is left behind: a memory, a thought, a connection, an idea which can go on to have a significant impact even many years later.
Twinning, or city partnering, harnesses the very power of meetings to constantly open up new possibilities for citizens to break down barriers. This was why County Durham and the university town of Tübingen first became partner communities in 1969. Many individuals care for and promote this link, which brings together schools, experts, artists, musicians as well as politicians. This is what twinning relationships are all about; strong commitment on the part of people and associations who enjoy taking part in exchanges and which leave an unforgettable and long lasting effect on them and their communities.
One individual in particular stands out in this ongoing exchange between Durham and Tübingen; someone who has connected both places on a literary level for not just a few years, but more than three decades – author, poet and publicist, Dr Keith Armstrong. Thanks to his commitment over the past 30 years, more than 30 authors have found their way to their respective partner regions to seek inspiration for their work.
On the 30th anniversary of Keith Armstrong’s first visit to Tübingen in 1987, this publication seeks to serve as a testament to the strength of the partnership, as well as acknowledging those who have taken part in the project and as a chronicle of all their achievements. Twenty-two authors have contributed their texts, bringing together multiple generations and styles in this anthology which offers a vivid insight into the literary creativity of the twinned communities.
County Durham and Tübingen, Autumn 2017
Look down from the Rathaus
and you will see me plodding
over cobbled tales.
I traipse though the clear night,
eyes stumbling across discarded dreams,
toes aching with raindrops.
My eyes sore with forgetting,
the old square undulates with the rhythm
of catcalls and pigeons
pecking at old folks' bones.
Ancient crows swoop
on market remnants,
the scent of forgotten summers
lingering in the winter’s gutters.
down the hill
lurching with words
that spill with slush
and the glitter of ice under the moon.
We are but Swabia’s leaves,
blowing about in a hushed city
that baffles our loves,
on the flow of the Neckar’s infernal gurgle.
We are grinning away
in our urge
in our endurance of boredom,
the hint of romance.
Scan my breath
for more joyful moments,
pan across the skyline
to pick up the Lufthansa throb
in the beautiful clouds.
I will sing again in Tuebingen.
I will kick out the glass on Melancholy Street.
I want to hear Uhland breathe in the daft breeze,
see Hoelderlin brood on a raft.
This world is crazy
and my mind
rejoices in it.
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