Cultural tip on SDG 15: Poetry collection ‘Dodos auf der Flucht’

  • 2022-12-21
  • Janna Degener-Storr
Cover of the poetry book "Dodos auf der Flucht"
© Verlagshaus Berlin

Mikael Vogel’s poetry collection ‘Dodos auf der Flucht’ (dodos on the run) focuses on extinct animal species and the role of human beings in the disappearance of species and . A problem that is also addressed by goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda "".

‘Übrig – Bleiben: Vier Schneidezähne – Ein Schienbein – Einige postcraniale – Unruhe.’ This is the shortest poem in the collection . The titular giant aye-aye this poem refers to is believed to have lived in Madagascar and is now extinct. The term ‘postcranial’ refers to a part of the skeleton, as the poem lists the remaining bones found of the species.

This example shows that unlike the title might suggest, this is not a book for children. The vocabulary used and the facts included are more reminiscent of an encyclopaedia. However, the texts are presented as poems. Their structure is unconventional and clearly intended to underline the harrowing message: human beings are in part responsible for the fact that one animal species after the next is being extinguished at a breathtaking rate. 

‘Totempfahl’ (totem pole) is the title of the table of contents. This term usually refers to a painted wooden sculpture that is associated with North America’s indigenous population and that is frequently confused with the stakes used as a torture instrument. Rather than numbering the chapters in the traditional way of using numbers in ascending order, the author starts with number 13, followed by 8, then 5, and 3, and 2, and two times the number 1. This structure is evocative of nursery rhymes, in which one playmate after the next is excluded – it is very obvious how this is linked to the topic of the poetry collection. The rise of human beings is presented as a contrast to this.

Read more

Discover more cultural tips