Gastarbajter’s guide through poetic possibilities

Gastarbajter’s guide through poetic possibilities is a collection of un-poetic poems, translated interviews, cacophonic voices that are loud, that interrupt each other and that want to be heard. 
These poems were created from the conversations and interviews conducted with migrated or seasonal workers that come to the West to work. The original language and the volume, the interruptions and pauses found their possible translation in the form of the poems. This is a try, a search for a way to show the complexity of speech and language whose rhythm and stories sound more that it can be captured in the mere transcribing. 



The term gastarbajter (German: gastarbeiter, meaning “guest worker”) is a name used to address seasonal workers migrating in the 60s and 70s to Western Germany, mainly from the south of Europe. Besides the official meaning of the term, there is also the actual usage, expanding from derogatory intention to humor, but always describing this hybrid identity that is always in-between.

Gastarbajter is a cultural identity characterized by the feeling of not belonging anywhere to the fullest, not to the mother land, nor to the land of immigration. It’s a phenomenon that can be only understood in-between there and here.

Since the term is usually used with a negative or humorous intention, appropriating it shifts the power, allowing the source of voices to be situated inside, and not from outside. These voices are full of “backstage” knowledge, they are loud, they know how to shift, how to go around, how to manage.