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Cleveland poetry goes international when German Poets Tour visits

Sebastian 23 performs at a slam.
Sebastian 23 performs at a slam.

Cleveland’s local poetry scene goes global this Friday at Visible Voice Bookstore.

That’s when the German Poets Tour (the trio of Wolf Hogekamp, Lars Rupple, and Sebastian 23) stops over in Northeast Ohio on their way to the National Poetry Slam in Minnesota in August.

Affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, these three poets are bringing world-class verbal stylings to our back porch.

Sebastian 23 has been performing slam poetry since 2003, and in that time, he’s become one of the most renowned German-language slam poets, performing and competing internationally, as well as teaching slam workshops. In addition, he is part of the slam poetry “boygroup” SMAAT (which won first place in the 2007 National Poetry Slam in the team category), is also a singer-songwriter equally comfortable with a guitar in his hands, and has even made appearances at comedy and variety shows. Widely published in anthologies, he also has two CDs out: a solo album titled “Gefühlsmoped” (literally “Moped of Feelings”), and an album with SMAAT with the English title “back for food”.

Lars Rupple, born in 1985, is the youngest professional German-language slam poet. Rupple became a full-time slam poet in 2004 and since then, performs over 200 shows a year. (His bio tells us that he wasn’t very good at soccer. The literary world is thankful he shunned sports in favor of the slam stage.) Also a member of SMAAT since 2006, Rupple helped carry the group to the 2007 win. He also teaches workshops and works as an organizer of huge slam and literature events.

And finally, Wolf Hogekamp, the veteran of the group, is one of the most venerable names in the German slam community. He’s been organizing slams in Germany since 1994, making him a pioneer of the German language slam. Since 2000, he’s worked as organizer and mentor of the “Bastard Slam,” one of the biggest and most important slams in German performance poetry. Hogekamp is a member of the group “Agrar-Berlin,” and founder of the “BerlinerWald” stage in Berlin. Since 2001, he’s performed more than 400 slams and readings at every important stage and venue in Germany.

Poems will be performed in both English and German.

Ray McNiece and Tongue-in-Groove open the evening. The show starts at 7pm at Visible Voice, 1023 Kenilworth, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. This is a show not to be missed.


  • Profile picture of Lorraine Cipriano
    Lorraine Cipriano 4 years ago

    This is the first time I have heard of the German Poets Tour- sounds like it was awesome! Lorraine Cipriano, Toledo Poetry Examiner

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