Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín


24º International Poetry Festival of Medellín
July 19th to 27th, 2014

“Celebration of Earth with Native Peoples"


We present to our readers a general program comprising 145 performing acts and participation of 73 poets from 39 countries. We invite you to disseminate it widely among their friends and in your social networks.   READ MORE

Press cutting from World Press

Poetry: Light transformed into love of the planet

Painting by Carlos Jacanamijoy

By Jairo Guzmán
Direction Committee of Medellin Poetry Festival

Poetry will give us the strength to return to humankind the “patrimony of light / transformed / into love of the things of this planet”, as expressed by Jorge Carrera Andrade in his memorable poem El combate poético.

Many are the urgent issues humankind needs to address in order to achieve permanence on Earth. Many are the signs that announce its extinction if it continues on the same path of destruction and servitude.  READ MORE

Biographical information about invited poets

World poetry meeting in Medellín:
146 acts for orbital peace and for Earth

A vigorous and multitudinous celebration of existence and of Earth, with aboriginal poets from the ancient Innu, Nahuatl, Mazatec, Muscogee, Quechua, Mapuche, Yanacona, Wayuu, Kamsá, Maya and Sami nations, accompanied by the Celebration of Earth with the Native Peoples forum; the Colombian Poetry, Art and Culture for Peace Forum; the performance of 146 acts for world peace; the performance of the 18th issue of the International Poetry School, and several sessions of the Coordinating Committee of the World Poetry Movement, are some of the main activities.   LEER

A Planet Free Of Wars.
For Peace, Justice and Poetry

By World Poetry Movement
Coordination Committee

Hundreds of millions of people have died over 60 centuries of civilization due to the brutal hand of war. Human history knows only nine centuries of serenity.

8,000 peace treaties were signed in the last 35 centuries. Regarding this, Dylan Thomas wrote: “The hand that signed the paper felled a city;/ Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,/ Doubled the globe of dead”.

The harvest of the Second World War, in which 110 million soldiers from 72 countries fought, was 60 million dead and 35 million wounded. Nine out of ten dead were soldiers. Today, nine out of ten dead are civilians.    READ MORE


Why go on with Poetry?

By Ivo Svetina

Two centuries ago Hölderlin wondered about the purpose of poets in those godforsaken times. The world was god-forsaken because the gods had deserted it, had fled away from man, who had pronounced himself the crown of creation, donned the cloak of the will to power, become arbitrary, self-sufficient, self-infatuated, a Narcissus who gazed at himself in the water surface as in a mirror, recognising himself, his imaginary beauty, as the supreme law. As the subject (sub-iectum) of everything, to everything.    READ MORE

Roughshod Trickster
(Translator’s Afterword)

By Denis Mair
Prologue to Nine Nights

Ninth Night is a book-length poem documenting the poet’s effort to deal with the dilemmas of money and power during a period of chaotic growth in the Chinese economy. After a 20-year wild ride on the back of the corporate tiger, the poet begins to undergo extreme experiences of his own choosing (including mountain climbing), as a way of confronting history from his own authentic standpoint. This goes hand-in-hand with his growing attachment to a younger woman. The whole book is written in the form of animal parables, or what could better be termed animal dramatic monologues.   READ MORE

Fragrant Poetry

By David McKirdy

If our environment  shapes us as people then the place in which we live must also inform our creative endeavours and shape us as poets, this has certainly been the case with my own writing. Hong Kong is frequently viewed and portrayed as the archetypal modern Asian city, with it's thrusting architectural vernacular which is the main fodder of the documentary, travelogue and infomercial. Like Italo Calvino's book 'Invisible Cities', Hong Kong is a different place to different demographic groups and even to different individuals within these same groups.   READ MORE

David McKirdy to young poets:

Amin Khan, Poet of the crossing of  the borders

By René Depestre

I have the great pleasure to talk about Amin Khan, Algerian poet, at a time when the Arab and Islamic world is making a democratic breakthrough that is upsetting ideas and circumstances regarding justice, law, culture, and freedom. In North Africa and in the Middle East, the heirs of the Arab and Islamic civilization are showing that life in the Arab societies is not doomed to an existential stalemate where the woes, setbacks, and regressions of the 20th century would be endlessly repeated. Today the predatory political powers are everywhere facing youthful and popular dissent and renovation movements. 

Decades ahead of the current awakening of mentalities, Adonis (Ali Ahmad Esber), the great poet of Syrian origin, had laid down the foundation of an Arab poetics thought as the opposite of ossified legacies.  READ MORE

An Interview with Amin Khan

The Rumpus Interview with Joy Harjo

By Julie Morse

Joy Harjo is a craftswoman of poetry. Her poems are constructed with such precision and graceful narration that I don’t consider them to be mere poems, but sermons. She isn’t only a poet. Harjo’s a performer, professor, playwright, and musician with the band Poetic Justice, and recently a memoirist (her memoir Crazy Brave came out in July 2012 from Norton). She is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the PEN Open Book Award, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement Award, among many other accolades. Through her art (and beyond), she’s an activist, pioneering for the recognition and respect of indigenous and writers of color within the realm of literature and academia. As a Native American of the Muskogee Creek Nation, she was born fighting for rights of indigenous peoples in her homeland of Oklahoma and throughout the country.   READ MORE

Poetry in Laos

By Kongdeuane Nettavong
Special for Prometeo

Historically Laos was called the Land of a Million Elephants.

Everywhere there were forested mountains and people living in harmony with the natural world they were immersed in. Living in this way they learned from nature to think and imagine and to explain the world in harmony with the laws of nature.

So poetry was born there in the mind of the poet and transmitted orally in the form of both poems and Mo Lam. Mo Lam is a style of Lao singing in which the words change according to the intent of the singer, who may choose to tell a story or flirt or comment as appropriate to the situation. Everything they composed was rhythmic.    READ MORE

Gcina Mhlophe and the ritual

By Njabulo S. Ndebele

Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe was born on 24 October 1958 in Hammarsdale to a Xhosa mother and Zulu father. She matriculated at the Mfundisweni High School in the Transkei in 1979 and briefly worked as a housemaid in Johannesburg before beginning as a cadet journalist at Rhodes University. After a brief course in filmmaking she started as a newsreader for the Press Trust, BBC Radio’s Africa Service and ZBC.

Mhlophe went on to establish herself as a multi-talented multilingual actor and activist, poet and playwright, composer and director, infusing storytelling with poetry. Widely translated into all of South Africa’s official languages as well as internationally, into German, French, Italian, Swahili and Japanese, Mhlophe has received a terrific array of prizes and awards, including the BBC Africa Service for Radio Drama, the Edinburgh Festival's Fringe First Award, the Josef Jefferson Award, and the OBBIE.   READ MORE

In Search of Poem’s Future Role and Image

By Ayesha Saldanha

Poet Ali Al Jallawi fled Bahrain in April of this year, one of many political activists, journalists, and writers who left the country rather than risk arrest during a crackdown against pro-democracy protests. In the 1990s Al Jallawi had been imprisoned twice, and tortured, as described in his memoir God After Ten O'Clock. He was active in the recent movement for democratic reforms, and had recited a poem at the Pearl Roundabout, the center of the pro-democracy demonstrations. After his picture appeared on Web sites naming "traitors," and the security forces visited his parents' home, he decided to leave the country. He spent months moving from one country to another, but is now living in Germany. I asked Ali Al Jallawi about his experience of exile so far.   READ MORE

In Search of Poem’s Future Role and Image

By Hrant Alexanyan
Translated from Armenian by Christina KOCHARIAN

                          “He is one of the last
                           Mohicans in the chaos becoming callous”

In its full sense the poem’s mission has remained the same for all times, just on its further way it becomes more complicated and hard workable. The poetry is going to face a series of severe competitions with other branches of art, it has to maintain not only its leading position among the other literary genres but also to be visible and demanded in the circle of other types of art and media, especially of internet. I’m sure that the tomorrow’s poetry with its principal manifestations, literary high and emphasized qualities will need to include also factual, significant information and interpretations which is urgently necessary for the 21st century man.   READ MORE

The Importance Of Realıty In Turkısh Poetry

By Metin Cengiz
Translated by Övünç CENGİZ

It would not be a grave mistake to argue that that which is real occupy a great place both in modern Turkish poetry and in Divan 1 and Folk 2 poetry. As a matter of fact, when reading Divan poetry one can even come to an understanding of the concept of life prevailed at that era. At this point we should hear Sabri Ülgener:3

For a long time Divan Literature considered to be limited with blindly repeating stereotypical and ascetic symbols and expressions or images familiar from Persian literature which have nothing to do with the daily life of society; yet with this study we will find that Divan Literature has a quite different face: It is a genuine and invaluable source of information! After setting aside rote and stereotypical symbolism, a careful eye which is accustomed to scan documentary with caution would definitely notice many invaluable information within the pages of the Divan Literature.   READ MORE

Poetry and the ‘God Particle’

By Oumar Farouk Sesay

When the inherent insanity of war was unleashed in my country Sierra Leone in 1991, it took away so many things along its path; lives, limbs, properties, integrity, neighborhoods and neighborliness. It stripped the beacons of values and maimed the language rendering it inept in appropriating the enormity of war. It seemed the language was paralyzed by the grotesque; the syntax, semantics, morphology and metaphors develop centuries ago lack the capacity to accommodate the new ugliness. The numbing of the soul took its toll; the victims of our war were stunned, unable to speak the unspeakable. They hoisted a look of hollowness on their faces that told a tale of doom. The language was broken; words that were used to console sounded hollow and mean.   READ MORE

Snow is Falling, Written Snow is Falling

By Maria Barnas

The poet looks at a wall. On his desk – a working surface that should offer access to the wide world and all the unbridled fantasy that lies behind it, or should I say 'within' or 'above' it, for who knows in what way fantasy moves itself – stands the wall, angular and irrefutable.

From my room, I look out at a wall. There is a tree between me and the wall. The stone wall reminds me that everything that I see, everything that I think, is a projection. The wall lets this happen. The wall is a surface on which I project everything I write: the window, the tree, the city of Berlin, which I know lies behind those stones; the city of Amsterdam, which I also suspect lies there. It is snowing in these cities. I see the snow falling.   READ MORE

Eulogy of Poesie

By Müesser Yeniay

Defence of Poesie is the first real English critism. It is written in a singularly atrractive style, witty and persuasive, and modelled on a classical oration in reply to Stephen Gasson’s School of Abuse which is dedicated to Sidney himself and which attacked poets, pipers, players, jesters, and such like caterpillars of a commonwealth. I think, poesy does not need to be defended for it has already a shell but rather should be praised. Poetry is strokes of humans in an unexplored sea inside him. It is discovery of both new senses and new objects. Art as the sole domination of humans, and the last reign.

Firstly, Sidney mentions the philosophic side of poetry saying that philosophers in the Greece firstly appeared under the ‘mask of poets’.   READ MORE

Ars Poetica

By Synnøve Persen

My Home is in my Heart
(Nils Aslak Valkeapää)

The Sami language is one of the small languages in the world. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric family, related to Finn, Hungarian, Estonian and some smaller languages in Russia.

Sami has four distinct language groupings - the biggest one is the Northern Sami to which I belong, then the Southern, the Anar and the Skolt dialect. It is estimated to be spoken by up to 20,000 people, but written and read by considerably fewer, due to the politics from the nordic states throughout long time, until 1950, Sami language and culture were virtually ignored by the Scandinavian educational systems.   READ MORE

One Kind of Voice
About my Poetry Writing

By Jidi Majia
Translated by Denis Mair

I write poems, because my birth could have happened no sooner and clearly no later than the exact day of June 23, 1961.
I write poems, because I myself am a random event.
I write poems, because my parents are both of the Nuosu ethnicity; they aredescendants of Zhyge Alu, the divine hero of the Nuosu.
I write poems, because my grandfather was especially handsome, but my grandmother was a bit ugly.
I write poems, because I live in a small city called Zhaojue, where many Nuosu people and Han people live together.   READ MORE

Poetry as Access into Myth and Utopia

Interview to Mahmoud Darwish

By Raja Shehadeh
From Bomb 81, 2002

Mahmoud Darwish, the most acclaimed Palestinian poet, died in 2008. In tribute to his life and his work, and his poetic yearning to achieve a just peace in the Middle East sleep still not done and thus gives effect to his words, we reproduce an interview.

Mahmoud Darwish was the 2001 winner of the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. He is considered one of the foremost poets of the Arab world. His readings in Arab capitals are attended by thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—from all sectors of the society. The critic Hassan Khader calls Darwish a poet of love. Darwish’s early poetry was lyrical; it later evolved to address more symbolic and abstract themes. Khader credits Darwish for saving Arabic lyrical poetry from the stagnation it fell into in the ’60s by taking it beyond immediate political concerns into more metaphysical subjects.   READ MORE

Anthology of Poems

The Dragon in the Valley of Poetry
International Poetry Meeting China-Colombia

We present a sample of poems of the poets invited to the International Poetry Meeting China-Colombia: The dragon in the valley of poetry.

Han Zuorong the former chief editor for People’s Literature, is a renowned poet currently serving as an adviser for Wind Poetry. His Forest Fire of Greater Khingan, a documentary writing on the disaster, was awarded “Readers Favorite Works” from People’s Literature in 1987. His Selected Poems of Han Zuorong was a winner for the First Lu Xun Literature Prize in Poetry. In 1966 graduated from the Heilongjiang School of agricultural mechanization. In 1983 he joined the Chinese writers association. The collection of poems The Ming, Six Mountains, the north corner of the Snow Lyric Poetry, quiet, white birch forest loves garland, girls and lilac, naked, glass vase, instant, Selected Poems of Han Zuorong, paper on the landscape.  READ MORE


Songs of Peace From Medellin

Video by youtube/revistaprometeo

A report by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

I cross half of the globe
to have the saltiness of Columbians’
tears red inside my blood.
Tears of those who lost their homes due to conflict
who now cry Vietnamese tears as they hear
how my ancestor’s village
was turned to dust by bombs

My voice climbed into a majestic afternoon as I sang out in Vietnamese the poem “The Color of Peace” which I wrote in Medellin for the people of Columbia and was performing now at the Closing Ceremony of the 23rd International Poetry Festival of Medellin.   READ MORE

Poetry readings in 117 cities for Peace of Colombia

By World Poetry Movement

At least 200 poetry readings and art activities will be held between next 9 and 21 May in 117 cities from 63 countries as an expression of solidarity with the peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), being carried out in Havana, Cuba, from poets and member organizations of the World Poetry Movement (WPM) and Word in the World.

Over 850 poets, artists, intellectuals and scientists from 139 nations signed a statement supporting this global campaign, which began last February, created from the efforts of world poetry to help solve some of the deepest humanitarian crises of our time, war, the deterioration of the lives of people and nature, and the material and cultural poverty of millions of human beings.   READ MORE

Forces of World Poetry for
1.000 Years of Peace in Colombia

Support Prometeo

The International Poetry Festival of Medellín resorts to its friends across the world and in our country – to those who understand its nature and historical role – to donate funds to strengthen its financial situation.   READ MORE

International Poetry
Festival of Medellin
Award 2006

International Poetry Festival of Medellin RightLivelihood Award 2006

This video contains a passage from the acceptance speech of the Alternative Nobel Prize, Right Livelihood Award 2006, received in the Swedish Parliament to the International Poetry Festival of Medellin, headed by the poet Fernando Rendón.    LEER

Additional information

International Poetry
Festival of Medellin
Integrant of
World Poetry Movement

Currently they are 121 international poetry festivals, 111 poetry projects and 1.249 poets from 135 countries, participating in World Poetry Movement.

Strategic Plan 2012-2014

WPM deploys itself

World Poetry School

A Project by the World Poetry Movement

“Full of merit, yet poetically humans dwell upon this earth”
F. Hölderlin

In accordance with the strategic goals of the World Poetry Movement (WPM), this project answers the need for achieving the second purposed goal, written down this way: Global reach improved in the development of audiences through the calling for formative poetic actions.   READ MORE

World Poetry Movement in
response to the historical crisis

As in primitive times, a replica of which still survives in the world, and based, of course, on centuries of experience and planning, we continue to believe that the economy is the foundation of survival and human evolution on earth. Material and technological development, centuries later, has proven to be formidable. But contrary to the beginning, progress has not protected the entire human race, favoring only groups and individuals who have the power and capacity to decide on the uncertain future of all.   READ MORE


From a world composed,
   closed to us

back to nowhere, the north.
We need/ a cold primrose sting
of east wind; we need
a harsh design of magic lights
   at night over

drab streets, tears
salting our mouths, whether
   the east wind

brought them or the jabbing
of memories and perceptions,
   who knows.

Not history,
   but our own histories,

a brutal dream
   drenched with our lives,

 intemperate, open, illusory,

to which we wake,
   sweating to make

substance of it, grip it, turn
 its face to us, unwilling,
   and see the

snowflakes glitter there,
   and melt.

Denise Levertov

The Irish Offshore on land
Poetry in Irish Now

By Liam Ó Muirthile

If being a poet in Irish feels like living offshore on land, that feeling of offshoreness seems to be the undercurrent of a primary call: of journeying there in order to stay here. A paradox of course, but confirmed and sustained by experience.   READ MORE

The Irish Language and its Literature: a Brief Overview and some Points to Ponder

Alliance of Right Livelihood Award Laureates Demands Global Nuclear Phase Out

We extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Japan who have experienced a devastating earthquake and tsunami followed by severe damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.  We commend the brave individuals who are risking their lives to prevent the escape.   READ MORE

Group demands global
nuclear phase out

Right Livelihood Award Winners Demand Nuclear Power Phase Out

Cultures of Resistance

Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo

Does each gesture really make a difference? Can music and dance be weapons of peace? Director Iara Lee embarked on a two-year, five-continent trek to find out.    READ MORE

The Transformation of a Drug

The Transformation of a Drug Capital
(FromCultures of Resistance on Vimeo)

How the Medellín International Poetry Festival helped transform a troubled city into a world capital of poetry.    READ MORE

The International Poetry Festival of Medellín Declared Cultural Heritage of Colombia

The Constitutional Court of Colombia in a recent ruling declared executable the Law of the Congress of the Republic declaring the International Poetry Festival of Medellín a Cultural Heritage of the Nation.   READ MORE

Multimedia section
in our Web site

We present the audiovisual memory of participation from invited poets to the International Poetry Festival of Medellin. This anthology is composed for 343 poets from 133 countries of five continents. VIDEOS

Prometeo´s Channel

Tiempo de Poesía

The International Poetry Festival of Medellín actively spreads Colombian poetry in the world. Since 2002, Prometeo has developed the Colombian section of Poetry International of The Netherlands, with information and poems in Spanish (translated into English) of 77 Colombian poets, including three new poets every quarter.