In Berlin Quarterly’s signature long-form reportage, journalist Zuzanna Bukłaha delineates the current political and social fissures in her native Poland. Contextualising the recent abortion ban and homophobic legislation with Poland’s political history, Bukłaha reports on the protests and art happening as a response to these new statutes.
Beloved German writer Jenny Erpenbeck looks back on her childhood in East Berlin with three short memoir works; Marek Bienczyk contributes to the issue with a study on transparency, touching on fears of deception and overexposure; and Pablo Maurette investigates the concept of ketman, a creative form of self-censorship that intellectuals and artists practice under totalitarian regimes. In fiction, Mark Tardi translates Olga Hund, exploring the inner workings of a psychiatric hospital.
The twelfth issue features two contemporary poets: Ann Cotten, called “the new face of German poetry” by Die Zeit, whose experimentation nods to postwar German surrealism; and Xandria Phillips, whose Lambda award-winning debut collection was praised as “a decolonisation of space and self ” by Claudia Rankine.
Elliott Verdier’s photo portfolio documents the cinematic landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, a young republic marked by its Soviet past. The archive section features Anaïs Tondeur’s stunning, haunting cyanotypes of vegetation from Chernobyl alongside meditations on the tragedy and its aftermath by writer Michael Marder. Together, this visual artwork and fragmented text serve as witness and orator, as the history wanders into philosophical prose and personal memoir.
Divided by Zuzanna Bukłaha
Dogs of Smaller Breeds by Olga Hund
Ketman by Pablo Maurette
For a Burial Free of Sharks by Xandria Phillips
A Shaded Path by Elliott Verdier
Transparency by Marek Bieńczyk
An Interview with Vera Michalski-Hoffmann by Klaudia Cierluk
Not a Novel by Jenny Erpenbeck
In the Museum of Misanthropy by Ann Cotten
The Chernobyl Herbarium by Michael Marder by Anaïs Tondeur