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The life of a Leipzig slam poetess

in Culture / Entertainment/Fairs/Poetry by

She is a slam poetess, activist, blogger and freelance model. A very multifaceted person you can see in action as she competes with other slam poets – from Berlin, Munich and elsewhere in Germany – at the livelyriX Buchmessenslam im Schauspiel Leipzig tonight. The Leipzig-based Nhi Le agreed to give LeipGlo an interview ahead of her performance; so you can get to know a little bit about her interests and views through it. Don’t forget to check out her also multi-faceted blog Narcoticarts, and its Facebook page.

Q: Nice to meet you here in the cybersphere, Nhi Le! Where are you from and when did you move to Leipzig?

A: I’m from Thuringia and moved to Leipzig in 2013.

Q: What inspired you to start your blog and when did you start it?

A: I was inspired to start blogging because writing is one of my greatest passions and I wanted to share experiences from my life with others. I created my first blog in 2012 and switched over to narcoticarts a year later in 2013.

Q: When and why did you become a slam poet?

A: I first began with slam poetry in 2013. I was fascinated by the art of spoken word and by the scene in general. Moreover, I think slam poetry is a unique way to express your thoughts allowing one to turn creative writing into an interactive performance.

Q: When did you start participating in big poetry slams?

A: I suppose from the very beginning I was involved in big poetry slams.

Q: What’s the poetry slam circuit like in Leipzig, and what’s the relationship like with your fellow slam poets?

A: The poetry slam circuit in Leipzig has grown in size over the past two years, which is great because there are now enough slam poets here to host a championship comprised entirely of locals. (For anyone interested in knowing more just look up Westslam hosted by LivelyriX.) The relationship among slam poets in Leipzig is generally great and supportive. Some of the most active poets even came together recently and founded a “Lesebühne” called Kunstloses Brot.

Q: Can you tell us about your feminist and anti-racist activism – when and why did you become engaged in it?

A: I became a feminist and anti-racist activist after realizing the extent to which I’m affected on a daily basis by these elements in society. The intersectional feminism movement, in particular, helped me to understand that it’s not my fault when I face discrimination. I started blogging about my experiences because I wanted to help and empower others facing similar issues and to show them that they shouldn’t accept the blame for things that they’re not responsible for.

Q: How much do you think this sort of activism is needed right now in Leipzig?

A: I believe this sort of activism is direly needed in Leipzig right now. There is a huge problem with racism here and a lot of people don’t realize just how serious it is. Leipzig likes to describe itself as an “open-minded and tolerant” city, yet at the same time there are racist demonstrations held here by Legida nearly every week. I truly wonder when people here will realize that racism comes in many different forms and isn’t excusable on the basis of what one believes to be in the ‘national interest.’ We shouldn’t wait around until people get killed (which has already happened here as at least eight people have been murdered by right-wing extremists in Leipzig since 1990). Racism starts in daily interaction and it’s time to start taking this seriously. For more on this, I would recommend the blog of a good friend of mine at trollbar.de.

Q: Do you feel comfortable and welcome in Leipzig?

A: Since the rise of Legida and Pegida, I feel the atmosphere here in Leipzig has certainly changed for the worse. Unfortunately, people with racist views are empowered by the support they receive among these groups and consequently feel entitled to express these views. For example, I don’t feel comfortable being alone at night at the main station which seems to be a gathering point for right-wing individuals, many of whom have been drinking. At the same, however, I know there are a lot of activists (as well as everyday individuals) here who are passionately against racism in Leipzig.

Q: What have been the highlights of your slam poetry so far, and what can we expect at the March 18th slam?

A: The true highlight of slam poetry for me is when people, especially young women, approach me after my performances and tell me how they feel empowered by words. That’s an awesome feeling. Other highlights include performing at the women* festival in Leipzig and also a solo show at the book fair here. The upcoming slam on March 18th will take place at the Schauspiel Haus and includes a talented lineup. Needless to say, it’ll be a great show.

An aspiring social scientist and former newspaper reporter, an avid eater, a pseudo-philosopher and poet, an occasion-propelled singer, a semi-professional socializer, a movie addict, a Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, but with special attention to travel, entertainment and lifestyle.

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