Hg.: Barbara Schwepcke, Bill Swainson

A New Divan - A Lyrical Dialogue between East and West. Forewords by Daniel Barenboim and Mariam Said

Edited by Barbara Haus Schwepcke and Bill Swainson
(German title: Ein neuer Divan)
ca. 200 pages
Barbara Schwepcke

Barbara Schwepcke

Barbara Schwepcke obtained her doctorate from the London School of Economics after which she started working as a journalist. Today, she is a publisher and editor.

Bill Swainson

Bill Swainson

Bill Swainson, having worked for numerous publishing houses, is now a freelance editor.

Rights available

Release of the English edition by Gingko Library: June 2019


A New Divan is a Gingko project that will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan (1819). This ambitious anthology brings together new poems by twenty-four leading poets – 12 from the ›East‹ and 12 from the ›West‹ – in a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of the Other. The poets come from across the East (from Morocco to Turkey, Syria to Afghanistan) and from across the West (from Germany to Mexico, Estonia to Brazil).

The new poems respond to the titles of the twelve books of Goethe’s original Divan, including The Poet, Love, Ill-humour, The Cup-Bearer, The Tyrant and Paradise, and draw on the distinctive poetic forms of the cultures of the poets taking part. For the English edition published by Gingko Library, twenty-two English-language poets have created English versions of the poems not originally written in English, either by direct translation or by working with a literal translation. For the German edition 21 well-known writers have created translations to the German in the same manner. All poems are printed both in the original language and the translation. Other international editions are supposed to contain the 24 poems in their respective original languages as well as adaptations in the respective target language.

A New Divan is accompanied by six essays exploring the differences and similarities between Eastern and Western poetry and discussing the challenges of literary and cultural translation. The essays enhance and complement the poems, mirroring Goethe’s original notes and commentary. Contributors are Robyn Creswell, Narguess Farzad, Rajmohan Gandhi, Kadhim Jihad Hassan, Stefan Weidner and Sibylle Wentker.

The anthology offers a polyphonic panorama of global poetry and shows literature’s power to eliminate borders. An important contribution at a time when some prefer to create rather than overcome boundaries – and at the same time a celebration of the shared cultural heritage of Orient and Occident.

Eastern Poets
Abbas Beydoun (Lebanon)
Adonis (Syria)
Fadhil Al-Azzawi (Iraq)
Amjad Nasser (Jordan)
Fatemeh Shams (Iran)
Gonca Özmen (Turkey)
Hafez Mousavi (Iran)
Iman Mersal (Egypt)
Mohammed Bennis (Morocco)
Mourid Barghouti (Palestine)
Nujoom Al-Ghanem (UAE)
Reza Mohammadi (Afghanistan)

Western Poets
Antonella Anedda (Italy)
Homero Aridjis (Mexico)
Angélica Freitas (Brazil)
Durs Grünbein (Germany)
Clara Janés (Spain)
Jaan Kaplinski (Estonia)
Khaled Mattawa (USA)
Gilles Ortlieb (France)
Don Paterson (UK)
Raoul Schrott (Austria)
Aleš Šteger (Slovenia)
Jan Wagner (Germany)


»Schwepke and Swainson are clearly bemused, as well as delighted, by what they’ve unleashed. They should be.« Gareth Smyth, The National

»This [is a] beautiful book, intricate as an Isfahan ceiling but with the cool clarity of Riesling« Ruth Padel, Financial Times