A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)



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 there 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.

Doctor Armstrong will be back in Tuebingen from Monday 4th November to Thursday 7th 2013  to take part in a major symposium on the theme of writer Hermann Hesse who lived and worked in Tuebingen from 1895-1899. As well as joining in with the discussions and giving a reading from his poems on Hesse and Tuebingen, Keith will be meeting with poets, academics, teachers, musicians, cultural and media workers. Amongst the poets he performs and debates with will be Tibor Schneider, who came to Durham last year, and Sara Hauser who will visit Durham in 2014.

So the twinning continues to go from strength to strength. Looking back on things, Armstrong and folk rock musician Gary Miller, lead singer of Durham band the Whisky Priests, travelled to Tuebingen at the end of March 2012 for performances in pubs, cabaret venues and schools where they performed with Tuebingen poet Tibor Schneider who visited Durham in October of that year as part of the ongoing exchange. Tibor joined his Durham counterparts for readings at Durham University and at the Half Moon Inn. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Tees concerning his Durham visit.

Keith Armstrong and Gary Miller returned the compliment with a trip to Tuebingen in March 2013 where they performed again in bars, cafes and schools with poets Tibor Schneider, Sara Hauser and Tuebingen musicians.

In 2011, Tuebingen rock musician Juergen Sturm jetted in with his music partner Mary Jane at the end of October for pub gigs, including a twinning event in Durham on Monday 31st October featuring Juergen and Mary Jane with Durham folk musicians and poets. That followed on from a visit to Tuebingen in South Germany in early April 2011 by Keith Armstrong and photographer/artist Peter Dixon. The intrepid pair worked together on a touring display featuring Armstrong's poems and Dixon's photographs documenting the unique link between Tuebingen and Durham which was staged initially in the Durham Room at County Hall, Durham in November. Armstrong performed his poetry in cafes, bars and schools and met up with Tuebingen friends, old and new, with the multi-talented Dixon capturing all of it on film.

This trip reciprocated a visit to Durham in November 2010 by Tuebingen poets Henning Ziebritzki and Carolyn Murphey Melchers, when Juergen Stuerm also took part in a series of pub performances. There was a special event at Clayport Library, Durham City on Monday November 1st with the Tuebingen poets and special guests from Durham, followed by a rousing session in the Dun Cow when Juergen, with Mary Jane, and his Durham counterparts, Gary Miller and Marie Little belted out their lively songs.

In addition to his most recent visit, Armstrong was in Tuebingen in May 2010 with Gary Miller for performances in his favourite Tuebingen bar ‘The Boulanger’ and at a local school. This followed a special guest appearance in 2009 at the biannual Book Festival, a reading with Tuebingen counterpart Eva Christina Zeller and a visit to local schools. Eva visited Durham for readings in schools and at a special event on May 13th 2009 at Clayport Library which also featured poets Katrina Porteous, Jackie Litherland, Cynthia Fuller, and William Martin, as well as Doctor Armstrong and music from the Durham Scratch Choir and Andy Jackson.

A highly successful series of events were held in 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the literary/arts twinning established by Keith Armstrong when he first visited Tuebingen in 1987 for a month’s residency, supported by Durham County Council and Tuebingen’s Kulturamt. Since then, there have been readings and performances in pubs, universities and castles, schools, libraries, book festivals, jazz and cabaret clubs, even in Hermann Hesse’s old apartment, involving poets, writers, teachers and musicians from the twin partnerships of Durham and Tuebingen.

Tuebingen’s music duo Acoustic Storm, poet/translator Carolyn Murphey Melchers and Cultural Officer visited Durham and the North East in October/November 2007. The musicians performed in Durham schools and pubs and there was a special evening in Durham’s Clayport Library to celebrate the twinning, with Keith Armstrong launching his new Tuebingen poetry booklet and performances by poets Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Katrina Porteous, William Martin, Michael Standen, Ian Horn, Cynthia Fuller, Hugh Doyle and musicians Acoustic Storm, Marie Little and Gary Miller. Margit Aldinger of the Kulturamt in Tuebingen and Brian Stobie of the International Department, Durham County Council, also addressed the audience.

For the record, here's a list of those who have made it happen so far:

Tuebingen visitors to Durham since 1987:

Carolyn Murphey Melchers, Karin Miedler, Gerhard Oberlin, Uwe Kolbe, Johannes Bauer, Eva Christina Zeller, Simone Mittmann, Florian Werner, Juergen Sturm, Mary Jane, Wolf Abromeit, Christopher Harvie, Eberhard Bort, Marcus Hammerschmitt, Henning Ziebritzki, Andy and Alessandra Fazion Marx, Otto Buchegger, Tibor Schneider.

Durham visitors to Tuebingen since 1987:

Keith Armstrong, Michael Standen, Julia Darling, Andy Jackson, Fiona MacPherson, Katrina Porteous, Marie Little, Ian Horn, Alan C. Brown, Linda France, Jackie Litherland, Cynthia Fuller, Margaret Wilkinson, Jez Lowe, Jack Routledge, Gary Miller, Matthew Burge, David Stead, Hugh Doyle, Peter Dixon.

These events were supported by Tuebingen’s Kulturamt and Durham County Council.




We change at Limerick Junction.
Rain knocks the smiles off our faces,
the sun glows and exposes the dust in the faint traces of our poems.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Weather makes our eyes fade,
the hours grow tired of breathing in the pain of the world.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Hearts thunder along the crazy rails,
the weight off our feet lands with a thump on the daily platform.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Carry gifts for old friends,
the urge to go on trailing poetry along the lines.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Girls get too young for us,
the flesh weakens with the passage of whiskey.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Air races in the manes of horses,
the money drains from our exhausted pockets.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Jump from one train to another,
the inexhaustible desire to write a better verse.
We change at Limerick Junction.
Words are why we laugh,
beauty is what makes us want to live.
We change at Limerick Junction.


Кит Армстронг

Станция Лимерик. Первая пересадка.

Дождь смывает улыбки с наших лиц пассажирских.
Но солнце теплится в наших рифмах,
А ветер сдувает прах с наших ног.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Наши глаза выцветают, глядя на мировые скорби.
Наши груди вдыхают время чужой беды.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Сердца стучат на стыках безумных рельсовых узлов.
Бремя свое с грохотом вываливаем с подошв на перрон.
С перрона на площадку вагона.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Под мышкой подарки друзьям.
«В путь!» --- зовут рельсы нашей бродячей музы.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Девушки неприлично молоды для нашего возраста.
Виски проходит сквозь тело, забирая силу с собой.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Деньги утекают из наших карманов 
со скоростью ветра в гривах ипподромных коней.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Перескакиваем с поезда на поезд.
А в голове неистребимое желание родить стих,
лучший, чем все, сочиненное ранее.

Станция Лимерик. Пересадка.
Что нас заставляет смеяться? Слова.
Что соблазняет жить? Красота.

Станция Лимерик. Последняя пересадка.

Перевел на русский Юрий СТОМА. © Copyright: Юрий Стома, 2013

My dad was a railroadman. I travelled a great deal by railroad in several countries, So your poem rang a very familiar sound both materially and trascendentally. Also, perceiving it as a life travel starting and ending at a railroad hub, I added the words 'first and "last" at the beginning and the end of the poem thus trying to kinda create an internal progress in time and space. (Yuri Stoma)



hesse reloaded...
5. und 6. 11. 2013 in Tübingen
Collegium Musicum, Schulberg 2 (Pfleghof), Tuebingen
Mit freundlicher
Unterstützung von:
Kulturamt Tübingen Internationale Hermann Hesse Gesellschaft e.V. Collegium Musicum Tübingen

Dienstag, 5. 11. 19 - 22 Uhr:
Dr. Keith Armstrong,
Felicitas Hartmann, Volker Michels,
Prof. Dr. Wilfried Setzler,
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wertheimer
Veranstalter: Sara Hauser, Tibor Schneider
Kontakt: hesse.reloaded@gmail.com
Sebastian Rappen

Mittwoch, 6. 11. 19 - 22 Uhr:
Dr. Keith Armstrong, Sara Hauser
und Florian Neuner
Vortrag und Musik:
Peter Weiß
Gregor Kübler (Violincello),
Andreas Meiwes (Klavier) und
Jörg Schwartz (Violine) spielen
Stücke von Franz Schubert und
Johann Sebastian Bach
Dienstag, 5. 11. 19 - 22 Uhr:
Dr. Keith Armstrong,
Felicitas Hartmann, Volker Michels,
Prof. Dr. Wilfried Setzler,
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wertheimer
Veranstalter: Sara Hauser, Tibor Schneider
Kontakt: hesse.reloaded@gmail.com
Sebastian Rappen




Just like our Mister Huber,
you’ve been drinking.
Just like our Mister Huber,
you drown the day.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you’re swimming round the town.
Just like our Mister Huber,
with music on the brain.

Just like our Mister Huber,
a girl shines in your eyes.
Just like our Mister Huber,
you touch the evening sky.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you float between the trees.
Just like our Mister Huber,
you’re dancing.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you’re skating on thin ice.
Just like our Mister Huber
flickers in the candlelight.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you kick the Gartenstrasse leaves.
Just like our Mister Huber,
you kiss the soppy streets.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you lurch along the keys.
Just like our Mister Huber
blows his life away.

Just like our Mister Huber,
you taught us all to climb.
Just like our Mister Huber,
you fly, you fly.

Keith Armstrong

Note: This poem was inspired by a reading I gave in a Tuebingen school, after which a teacher said that I was ‘Just like our Mister Huber’ - a music teacher, popular with the girls, once discovered slumped drunk over his piano in the music room!
Later, I discovered that a Professor Kurt Huber was stripped of all his academic honours and executed for his part in the ‘White Rose’ anti-Nazi resistance network. The Nazis had previously allocated him additional money for his researches into German folk-songs.
Sophie and Hans Scholl (sister and brother) were also executed for their parts in the ‘White Rose’ resistance. Sophie Scholl went to the scaffold on crutches and was beheaded by an executioner dressed in top hat, white tie and tails.
The ‘Geschwister Scholl Schule’ in Tuebingen is a comprehensive school dedicated to their memory.




Red star night.
A badge in the sky.
Banners at the cross-roads.
Oh Mother Russia,
your past bleeding,
we are driving to the future
in a black limousine.


Rubbing hearts
in the lift
with travellers,
an atlas in microcosm,
all telling us,
by their accents,
the rooms
that they were born in.
In the Ukraine Hotel,
the bathrooms drip
with voices
and many tongues
with the last words of the day
melting away on their lips.


Vodka is as warm
as a kiss.
It thrusts a burning finger
down your throat.
After a few,
we embrace.
Our arms surround
the World.
Warm Russian that he is,
Igor kisses me.
After fish and caviar,
the kiss
tastes good!
He signs away his writing:
To Keith,
who is both happy and sad.'

Another night
spurts into a dream.
In and out of trouble,
people will always



Last night we swopped our shirts.
They didn't fit our bodies too well
but they fitted our mood exactly.



The huge spread of Leningrad.
Cold courtyard heart.
The winter is hard,
but the nights are turning,
from black to white,
to red and back again.


and I'm dazzled;
not by the slender sway
of the supple trapezist
but by the spotlight
of a girl's blonde hair.
Shining from the audience,
she smiles
and all Russia smiles at me.
Such tricks in this moment.
I know I'll never see her again.



All the wailing
behind fine railings.
The seminary domes like suns
catch the sun
and priests, with long nights in their beards,
harmonize brilliantly.
Their voices,
polished gold,
sound out the walls
as a rocket
glints in the sky.


It's hellish hot in here.
Beneath the Earth,
these are
men and women
sweating steel,
futures for
their children.
Steel bars for prisons,
steel bars for playgrounds.
It's hellish hot in here.
Like a heart,


Three swaying silhouettes.
Three bureaucrats.
Along the street,
they joggle towards us.
In their cases,
they carry documents with drink
seeping between the lines.
And now they are laughing,
and now the words are laughing.
They are peace documents.
Meant for bottles,
meant for oceans.

Keith Armstrong

Кит Армстронг

1980 ГОД

Ночь сплошь краснозвездная.

На небе октябрятские значки.

На перекрестках букеты знамен.

Матушка Россия.

Твой день вчерашний всё кровоточит.

Нас к рассвету мчит «Чайка» ---
Черный, как ночь, лимузин.

В лифте плечом к плечу
и сердцем к сердцу с туристами.

Атлас микрокосма
В чужих наречьях.

Посланцы всей планеты коммунальной.

Гостиница «Украина».

Где в ванных капают из кранов
голоса на многих языках.

Где постояльцы засыпают
на полуслове.

Впечатления тают
на уставших за день губах.

Греет водка,
как поцелуй.
Перст указующий и жгучий
ведет по пищеводу.

Тост. Третий. Пятый.
И мы уже в обнимку.

В объятья заключаем
целый Мир.

Горячий троекратный
русский поцелуй от Игоря.

Вслед за рыбой и красной икрой пылкий поцелуй на десерт.

Надпись на странице книги:
«Киту --- счастливому и грустному человеку…».

Еще одна русская ночь
переходит в сновиденье.

Люди всегда танцуют ---
в горе или в радости.


Вчера за ужином
мы поменялись рубашками.

Хотя размеры наших тел не очень совпадают,
это был душевнейший десерт.


Бескрайние просторы Ленинграда.

Студеный колодец двора.

Погоды зимние объятья.

Каждой ночью тьма
становится белее, румянее.

А после маятник качнет обратно.

х х х х х

Я ошарашен цирком.

Хрупкие маневры почти
невидимой трапеции.

Пронзает воздух
луч прожектора.

Но главное --- белокурые
пышные пряди волос.
Как хвост кометы
над головами зрителей.

В ее улыбке --- лицо России.

Цирковое волшебство
специально для меня.

Я не забуду эту фею.
Просто не смогу забыть.


Из-за резных перил ---
хор голосов.

Сотни солнц на куполах духовной семинарии
гармонично рифмуются с процессией монахов,
в бородах которых тлеют огни заутренней молитвы.

Голоса шлифуют позолоту и взмывают за бастионы стен,
рвутся в небо
сияющей ракетой.


Здесь жарко, как в аду.

Спустившись в шар земной,
женщины, мужчины
здесь варят сталь.

В расплавленной реке рождается будущее их детей.

Сталь в решетках тюрем и в оградах детских игровых площадок.

Жара, словно в преисподней. Сердечная изжога.

Три зыбких силуэта.

Три бюрократа идут по улице
в раскачку навстречу нам.

В своих сверхмодных «дипломатах» они несут сверхважные бумаги.

Пойло сочится между строк в супердокументах.

Чиновники хохочут ---
эхом смеются их слова.

Бумажные прожекты
о мире во всем мире
запечатаны в бутылках, которые отправятся посланьем по волнам океанов.

(Translated by Yuri Stoma)

the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur