The XVIII International Poetry Festival of Medellín is not over although the closing ceremony has already taken place. During eight days Medellín and several other cities in Colombia lived something unthinkable in any other corner of the world: the gathering around poetry of thousands of persons, who as if they were in a concert ask the poets for one more, one more poem!
In spite of the successive attempts of a local newspaper to block the way of this feast of culture, and of the telling silence of most of the media about the impact of a festival of this magnitude, the strong affinity of the people of Medellín with poetry cannot be undone. The massive and warm attendance to the more than 120 venues to listen to poetry, confirms the urgent need of poetry in our times.
The closing ceremony of the XVIII festival was another great cultural feast, proof that the Festival is a process built from the heart of the city; the audience of thousands showed its support of the organizers of the event, recognizing the festival as an asset of the city and of Colombian culture.
The massive attendance of the festival which surprised, without any exception, all the poets, is explained by the fact that the audience has been formed during the eighteen years of the most important poetry festival in the world, which tends to become a true cultural movement. Far from the lies and innuendo of those who wanted to check the impulse of the Festival, what they really did was to propel its growth, as Fernando Rendón, its director, said to the resounding applause of the audience of thousands in the closing ceremony. And he added: “Nothing can check the impulse of the Poetry Festival.”
From resistance to the promotion of culture
The main characteristic of the Festival has been the fact that it is a cultural event of resistance against the war. But this year has advanced, and from resistance is gradually becoming a movement of political action: the proposal put forth in it to call for another meeting of Colombian poets to discuss peace and to build a wide cultural movement with the support of intellectuals and poets of the world.
The main objective of this cultural fact is to propose a peaceful solution for Colombia and to contribute, from art and creation, to the search of solutions for Colombian problems. From this point of view, the Festival and the Movement of Artists and Intellectuals tend to fuse into one single voice directed to the country in an unprecedented style and practice. We face a fact of transcendental dimensions for the culture of the country and a new experience coming from a new cultural initiative.