Interview with Barack Moyal

It’s been a long break, but Poetic Hafla is finally back with another event next week. In an interview, Barack Moyal, who together with Mati Shemoelof founded the hafla reading and performance parties in Berlin, let us in on some background facts and what awaits us at the next hafla. Enjoy reading and come by on January 17th to experience it yourselves!

L: If you had to describe Poetic Hafla with any five words, what would they be?

BM: interdisciplinary, intercultural, interfaith, inclusive, berliner-ish

L: It is almost impossible to capture the diversity of performances and uniqueness of Poetic Hafla in a straight forward description. However, is there a linking philosophy of sorts? Something that ties the artistic presentations together?

BM: We create a magical experience with the unique fabric of Berlin artists, a melange of styles and disciplines. In some way the connecting factor might be the diversity of the artists itself, we are aiming to offer a platform for every artist without forcing them into some sort of framework. For us this represents the diversity and flexibility of the city of Berlin.

L: What’s the background on Poetic Hafla here in Berlin: How come you and Mati got together and collaborated on founding poetic hafla?

BM: A friend of ours, Adi Keissar, an Israeli poet, asked us to help her produce a poetry slam evening for Isreali artists in Berlin. The event eventually took place at another friend’s living room. That night once again showed the vast and valuable source of artists this city has to offer, not only in the field of poetry and not only from one nationality. That’s why we decided to widen the spectrum.

L: How would you describe the audience typically attending the events? What are the vibes like, the resonance, the atmosphere?

BM: Our audience is usually similarly divers to our artists, a wide variety of open-minded people from different backgrounds. Depending on the topics shown on stage the character of the evening can range from party vibes to deep-debate-nights.

L: In the past, what was one of the craziest and most memorable performances for you personally? And why?

BM: It’s hard to pick out one performance since they are all very unique and hard to compare, but a few haflas ago we decided to produce a women-only edition. To fit the theme, I decided to not moderate it that time, which gave me the opportunity to observe it partially from an outside perspective. This was to me a very special experience.

L: Do you want to comment: why the long break since the last poetic hafla in summer 2018?

BM: Apart from producing the Poetic Hafla Mati is a writer and I’m a painter, since the last Hafla he published his new book “Bagdad, Haifa, Berlin” and I extended my own art from painting in watercolors to get some experience in oil-painting and working on my next exhibition in summer 2020.

L: Any highlights to look forward to at the Hafla in January?

BM: Due to the long break, I’m personally looking forward to a family-reunion-like feeling but if you want me to name one highlight, I’m excited to have a drag-king on board for the first time.