Hatto Fischer

Hatto Fischer

Hatto Fischer – Philosopher and Poet. Born 1945 in Bavaria, Germany, he immigrated at the age of 12 to Ottawa, Canada where he studied Economics and Political Science at Carleton University. In 1969 he returned to Europe, first to England to study Sociology and Philosophy of Science at London School of Economics, and then to Heidelberg to take up classical studies of philosophy in Heidelberg, He later obtained his Ph.D. in Political Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin with the thesis being about Articulation problems of workers.

He has lectured in Dialectic of Securalization, Art History, Humanities and Philosophy, while interacting with poets and artists in numerous ways. This included organising a Flying University in Berlin (1981-85) and medical/food transports to Poland while being member of the Board of the Institute for Environmental Protection and Democracy. He taught as well art history at the ETAGE, a Free Art School in Berlin. Since 1988, he has continued his activities in Athens, Greece where he has organized exhibitions, workshops and conferences e.g. Fifth Seminar ‘Cultural Actions for Europe’ in 1994, ‘Myth of the City’ in 1995, Day of Culture on 5th of May 2000 based on freedom of expression and dialogue, etc.. After coordinating the Article 10 ERDF Project CIED (Cultural Innovation and Economic Development) from 1997 to 1999, he worked as advisor to the Cultural Committee of the European Parliament before building up an Internet Radio within the Interreg III B Cadses Project Hermes. In addition, he did studies for the City of Volos about use of multi media by museums and successful cultural planning strategies.

Since 2003 he has been coordinating Poiein kai Prattein, writing and advising. This includes candidate cities seeking the title of European Capital of Culture. Together with Spyros Mercouris he organised the ECCM Symposium ‘Productivity of Culture’ and the Kids’ Guernica Exhibition in Athens, 2007. He has undertaken to coordinate Kids’ Guernica activities in Europe since 2005. Poiein kai Prattein emerged out of the ‘Touch Stone’, a group of international poets living in Athens and which includes Katerina Anghelaki Rooke.

He has published his poems in ‘Other Voices’ (ed. Norb Blei) and organized numerous poetry festivals, including ‘Myth of City’ (Crete, 1995), ‘Poets and the Olympic Truce’ (2004), joined ‘Poets against the War’ (after 2003). Currently he is working on an epic poem about Hölderlin’s treatment of Empedocles to tell the story of Berlin’s transition from a divided city to one now facing an uncertain future in both Europe and in the world. His Paros poems deal with silence while his Collection of City Poems reflects living conditions in urban centres. One of his main aims is to link poetry with philosophy. To do that he engages himself in dialogues with poets like Gabriel Rosenstock about language and translation, Germain Droogenbroodt as to what are perspectives of poetry outside the national fold, Dileep Jhaveri about the link between poetry and medicine, with Rati Saxena about the need for women to find their own voice or with Najet Adouani in Tunisia about the consequences of the Arab Spring.

The website of Poiein kai Prattein serves as reference point for further going poetic actions and public debates.

See: www.poieinkaiprattein.org/poetry

On the shores of the Mediterranean sea

– in reference to the Paros poems written about
‘dialogue with silence’ in July 2008

Heavy beats force the sun to cast aside shades
while women run towards the open sea where men
throw their loves like far flung fishing nets
into the water drenched in the blue of the sky
no longer tainted by purple strains dripping
from dirty mouths after having drunk too hastily
in order to forget and so they never notice
what has never been inscribed on pergament paper
shall leave poets in search of a voice in history
heard at high noon like a whisper in-between pine trees
when winds cool the air to let bodies stretched out
experience time as a day stretched towards eternity.


Behold the crystal ball
no ship has ever rounded
the earth if it has forgotten
how its harbour was called
now lit not by welcoming lanterns
but by a ravishing fire
started up by invaders
who made the most
of its weakness –
a harbour not finding
a peaceful relation to a world
never really at rest
since those men departed
and never to return.

Caretta caretta

Strange the talk of stones
along the shores
where thousand feet
of Caretta carettas
draw into the sand
beautiful tracks
while on their way
to the sand dunes
where they hatch their eggs
and when completed
show incredible wisdom
by leaving the new born ones
with memory
where to find the sea.

Bachelard’s poetic dreams

A sea shell poised
to curl up again
lets the next wave
spill over its body
as yet another century
resounds in footsteps
to measure history
in light years
within a poetic space
of the shell
designed simply
to echo the waves
rushing forward
to meet shorelines
of civilization.

Mountains of silence

Mountains hover in silence
look down at the bay
where restive water has calmed down
as if whales came to sleep
by resting their heads on ancient stones
inscribed by passages of time
till suddenly the wind picks up again
to lift the red balloons of children
ever higher up into the blue sky
till their laughter mixes with the cries
of ghost like figures stumbling upon the beach
to remind with their wounds
here fought in ancient times men
as if they would never die
and only screams of women
meant scratches on cave walls
where no historian would see
what has been left behind
due to wild desire gone on fire.

Dance at night

Every night
I whisper a poem
into your ear
about how the stars
look down at you.
They sense what love
stems from your heart,
and how you guide
your hand to help
wherever you can
a hopeless man
whether in Damascus
or else in the streets of Athens.

I yearn to see you dance
by the candle light,
and shall wait
till you grab my hand
to take me down
to the beach
where we shall look
at the stars above
to remind all desire
is due to the Mediterranean Sea
being always there
at each nuctural turn.


Most of these poems are related to an experience made when visiting on Paros the writer George Crane who had found an incredible beautiful house high up on a plain where the wind would wed every day silence and silence becoming unfaithful once the wind had died down in the evening. It was a dialogue with silence but also with the Mediterranean Sea being always present at a visible distance. It was also the time to take up the thesis of Baudrillard who explained many people are caught in the web of disappointment once love is turned into a game, hence not to love but to deceive. Once people realize this, it means that they are living in a world completely indifferent to their fate. Out of that they develop an urge to change that fate. It is expressed as wish for transformation so that that they can become a stone, a bird or just another ‘self’. It goes without saying all this can best be perceived when standing just slightly above sea level and while looking out to the sea to remark as well times in the sign of the wheel barrow archaeologists use when digging for evidence of the ancient past.

For the Paros poems in German see: http://poieinkaiprattein.org/poetry/poems-by-hatto-fischer/dialogue-with-silence-dialog-mit-dem-schweigen—paros-poems-gedichte/

And for the English, slightly different version see: http://poieinkaiprattein.org/poetry/poems-by-hatto-fischer/dialog-mit-dem-schweigen-dialogue-with-silence—paros-gedichte-poems/

Hatto Fischer
Athens 6.2.2013

Poetry in this post: © Hatto Fischer
Published with the permission of Hatto Fischer