Thursday, 10 April 2014



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 was back in Tuebingen from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th April 2014 with artist/photographer Peter Dixon for readings with Tuebingen poets Eva Christina Zeller, Sara Hauser, Tibor Schneider and Florian Neuner at Weinhaus Beck, a school visit and other networking initiatives. This followed on from his visit from Monday 4th November to Thursday 7th 2013 when  he took 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 met with poets, academics, teachers, musicians, cultural and media workers. 



I come back to you
when I am feeling hopeless,
when I am in despair of the heartless.
I trail my hefty books through Customs
to reach you,
to plunge into your depths,
to swim in the mystery of your streets,
the beauty of your trees,
the melancholy of your seminar rooms.

Yes, Tuebingen,
it’s me
looking for myself once more
in your troubled mirror.
So I dive
into La Boheme
and back and back and back
into the Boulanger.
So I stagger
out of Hades
and into the arms 
of the Neckarmueller 
to feed the ducks
with scraps of my trembling poetry.

Your Hoelderlin Tower
always makes me feel sad.
My body droops like a weeping willow
as my mad muse floats up river
to liberate new dreams,
to greet fresh friends.

I sail in your skies
in a Lufthansa trance.

Let me sing
of all that’s good in Swabia
for you.
Let me wish your lovely children joy
and then let me break my heart again
when I have to leave you.


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