© Rob Lewis


Jürg Halter  [ Switzerland ]

The Swiss writer, musician, and performance poet Jürg Halter was born in 1980 in Bern. He studied at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern and gained recognition through readings and performances at poetry festivals. He has written texts for various art magazines and anthologies. Published in 2005, his début poetry collection »Ich habe die Welt berührt« (tr: I Have Touched the World) received the book award from the canton of Bern in its year of publication. »I buy myself a sack of coal in Japan / and with a piece of coal I draw myself a moustache / like a haiku under the nose.« In a fictive trip around the world from Austria to Spain, Tibet, Suriname, the USA, and the Finnish lakes, Halter moves through the world of poetry with an impulse for creativity and a wide palette of timbres. Just a few cleverly arranged words also suffice for the poems in his second volume, »Nichts, das mich hält« (2008: tr: Nothing to Hold Me). The texts are characterized by a light yet melancholy tone and are about themes such as transience or the absence of love. Together with the Zurich art duo huber.huber, he published »Hoffentlich verliebe ich mich nicht in dich« (2014; tr: I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You), an art and reading book in which text and image melt to form the whole. Together with Tanikawa Shuntarō, Halter created two German-Japanese chain poems under the titles »Sprechendes Wasser« (2012; tr: Talking Water) and »Das 48-Stunden-Gedicht« (2016; tr: The 48-Hour Poem). In his text »Der Mondkreisläufer« (2017), subtitled as a prose sculpture, the lyrical I moves along the tightrope between reason and madness on the search for a long-yearned for mother who is suspected to be on the moon. In September 2018, Halter’s first novel »Erwachen im 21. Jahrhundert« (tr: Waking Up in the 21st Century), a parable about a writer who doubts both himself and the world and is haunted by dark visions during a nightmarish night. In his waking dream, he is beset by the nagging questions of our time – of justice by forfeiting privileges, the capabilities of humans and the possibility of their replacement by machines. The book describes humanity as »the most successful failed project of all time.«

Until 2015, Halter was also an active rapper, created the character »Kutti MC« and together with other artists made a total of five albums under this moniker. He has performed at international literature festivals across Europe, Russia, the USA, Japan, and Africa. He staged his own theater performance series (»Wir bauen uns die Welt, wie sie uns gefällt«, 2010/2011) at the Neumarkt theater in Zurich, as well as at the Casino theater in Winterthur and in the Südpol center in Lucerne (»Die unglaublichste Talkshow der Welt«, 2009/2010/2013), and at the Konzert Theater Bern (»Die Gegenaufklärung«, 2016/2017/2018).

Jürg Halter lives in Bern.




Ich habe die Welt berührt


Zürich, 2005

Nichts, das mich hält


Zürich, 2008

Sprechendes Wasser

[mit Tanikawa Shuntarō]


Zürich, 2012

Hoffentlich verliebe ich mich nicht in dich

[mit Huber.Huber]

Patrick Frey

Zürich, 2014

Wir fürchten das Ende der Musik


Göttingen, 2014

Das 48-Stunden-Gedicht

[mit Tanikawa Shuntarō]


Göttingen, 2016


Der gesunde Menschenversand

Luzern, 2017

Erwachen im 21. Jahrhundert


Zürich, 2018