Berlin-Based Poet Hinemoana Baker on Connections
Ahead of her recent reading at Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin (ILB), mould-breaking poet Hinemoana Baker talked English-language magazine Exberliner through her new book, the New Zealand-Berlin connection and why Germans should stop doing the haka.
Christchurch-born Baker moved to Berlin in 2015. Earlier this year, her new collection Funkhaus was shortlisted for New Zealand’s most prestigious literary prize, the Ockhams.
Baker said being acknowledged by New Zealand felt surreal.
“I’ve won residencies and things, but I don’t often get nominated for awards. I think I just don’t comfortably fit in existing categories,” Baker told the Exberliner. “I’m a Māori writer, but I’m also very open about being mixed-ethnicity. And I’m a queer writer, but I don’t write overtly queer stuff. I write poetry, and poetry’s not really big in New Zealand. Rugby is huge – but not so much poetry. Still, we do have shit-hot poets, and I’m glad to be from there.”
Baker is also a musician and a broadcaster. She is completing a PhD at the University of Potsdam.
Original article by Exberliner, September 6, 2021.
Photo by Ashley Clarke.