The 29th Medellín International Poetry Festival

A boy of Chua village. Paint by the Vietnamese poet and artist Nguyễn Quang Thiều

Por: Jairo Guzmán

From the heart of communities
For Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples

        “…nocturnal people lovers of the fury of thunder
        “a higher sweeter broader tomorrow”

        (Aimé Césaire)

From June 29 to July 6 of this year, the poets’ voice of the peoples all around the world joined back. Through the poetic word, arts and thought that reflect on the issues of our times, we continued with the purpose of performing poetic and artistic actions to encourage the free expression of communities with which the Festival intervened through 120 acts with the presence and participation of poets from 35 countries of the five continents which flowed as the flourishing power of the new spirit offered by the universal language of poetry.

It consisted of a massive deployment of poetry readings, courses, workshops, panels, conferences and colloquiums which summoned the population.

It was about erecting our voices and our will as a way of bringing complete emancipation as the charming emblem of love for the living in the harsh times that demand urgent changes at all levels in our behavior as a species.

The 29th International Poetry Festival of Medellín brought about -from the heart of communities-  the poetic essence that makes possible the great leap to a reconciled society of dialogue.

Peace and sovereignty of peoples have a powerful and significant impact, especially that year, 2019, when the bicentenary of "independence" was historically commemorated, although, for its meaning, we should rename it as the bicentenary of resistance due to the struggle of Latin American peoples, particularly the struggle of Colombians, for the emancipation (not yet attained).

The first independence of Colombia shed much light on the way forward during the anticolonial and emancipatory struggles, but its libertarian course was distorted and diverted into the dark pit of a history of fratricide that weakened us and subjected us to new oppressive, alienating and unjust yokes.

The nature of the Festival was its symbiosis with the collective soul which becomed more substantial in that historical moment, a propitious time in which as a group, all inhabitants of the communities, community leaders, youth networks, social network organizers,  indigenous communities, Afro-descendants, children, and young people should were able to unite their strength,  mobilize themselves  and  feed the fire of renewal that fosters a spiritual atmosphere linked to the transformation of a  culture, fractured by violence, but in a prosperous community framework, plenty of human qualities allied to the flowering of life, just there where it has been denied. 

From this perspective, in addition to the emblem: "From the heart of the communities, For Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples” -which guided the actions of the twenty-ninth Festival-, the activities that were programmed mobilized contents based on fundamental and significant aspects.

  •  Walt Whitman Bicentennial 2019: There are only truly few poets who in history leave an indelible and unique trace, and have also had an impact on to increase awareness of man´s consciousness with no end in sight. And Walt Whitman is undoubtedly one of them. It would be sufficient to echo what others as essential for us, as he was,  have said about  his work such as José Martí, Fernando Pessoa, who under the heteronym of Álvaro de Campos wrote the futuristic poem Salutation to Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Rubén Darío, Cesar Vallejo, Jorge Luis Borges and an extensive list of authors.
  •  Poetry, thought and memory of war and peace: the poetic experience and the writings of poets have been an essential contribution to retain the traces in the memory that war has preserved in the history of mankind in order to build the consciousness of no return.
  • The body as a poetic territory: To attribute value to the body as a fundamental territory. The body that creates and resists. The loving body. The body as a territory of peace and reconciliation. Its presence and its liberating power. Also, the absent body, the body of the disappeared person.
  • Poetry of the universe: To generate a cosmic consciousness linked to the origin and deployment of the mythical thought as a contribution to spiritual growth in communities.
  • Poetry and Human Rights. A fundamental aspect at the present time as far as it demands a real valuation of the right of all human beings to lead a dignified life.

Poets from all continents and some poets from indigenous peoples who have struggled for the rights of their communities and their sovereignty were with us in all scenarios where the Festival took place.

Within the 120 scheduled events, there were 32 training activities among courses, workshops, symposia, panels and conferences which enriched, with their contents, the thematic aspects of the Festival in the context of the 23rd International School of Poetry of Medellín, its formative component.

It was very stimulating being witnesses of an effervescence such as those poetic actions performed by groups of poets, poetic projects and poetry festivals that grow organically and in a committed manner, based on a common cause all over the planet by radiating its influences grounded in an awareness of urgent changes in order to stop this delirious race of destruction and social injustice all over the world.

 The International Poetry Festival of Medellín, as the center of convergence for poets all around the world, is a vital part of the World Poetry Movement -WPM-, founded in Medellín in 2011 during the twenty-first International Poetry Festival of Medellín.  During the month of February of 2019, it mobilized poets from 151 countries thereby making presence in 420 cities of the world with more than a thousand poetry readings in the context of the global campaign: "For a world without walls".

This overflowing response through public interventions for a world free of chains, against the walls, and border walls of discord amongst the people, and against the invisible walls that deepen social distrust, was a very remarkable indicator of how poetic actions are increasingly necessary in terms of a world poetry revolution that is under way and that makes possible an awakening, a new consciousness that allows the representatives of power controlling the world to understand the urgency to stop the vector of destruction and war to which seems we are doomed.  

This global plan of action in favor of life and peace consolidates a hopeful path about which the great French poet René Char, the victorious fighter in defense of the sovereignty of his people during the Second World War, in resistance to Nazism, he said: "Hope is truly the only active language and the only illusion that can be transformed into a good movement. We, men, poets, we have to ensure that this hope is not candor, there could be no poetry or life without hope- poetry: extreme hope, existence: relative hope."

In this perspective, this call was an invitation to take an active part in the 29th International Poetry Festival of Medellín, which increased its poetic actions to protect life and peace in Colombia and all around the world, inviting the subjugated peoples of the planet to rescue its sovereignty from the heart of the communities.

Below, we present the list of poets whom participated to the Festival: Diana Bellesi (Argentina),  José Muchnik (Argentina), Sona Van (Armenia-United States), Quito Nicholaas (Aruba-The Netherlands), Keabonye T Bareeng (Botswana), Kiril V. Merjanski (Bulgaria), Irene Ivantcheva-Merjanska (Bulgaria), Ekaterina Katzarova (Bulgaria-Estados Unidos), Soledad Fariña (Chile), Maribel Mora Curriao (Mapuche Nation, Chile), Shen Haobo (Popular Republic of China), Li Suo (Popular Republic of China), Colombian poets Felipe García QuineroGloria PosadaHenry Alexander GómezWilliam JiménezAndrés GaleanoSaúl GómezYorlady RuizMargarita LosadaLuisa Fernanda TrujilloMary Grueso RomeroFadir DelgadoCarlos Andrés JaramilloJosé Libardo PorrasLuis Arturo RestrepoAngélica PinedaCarlos CiroMauricio Arcila ArangoLeidy Yaneth Vásquez Ramírez, Barbara Lins, Manuela Salinas Juan Sebastián Sánchez, Sebastián Berrío, Diana Toro, Diego Preciado, Luje Quintero, Manuela Gómez, Pablo Hoyos, Ricardo Contreras, Wilson Pérez, Yubeli Andrea Vahos, Johana Casanova, Juan Sebastián Berrío; Moisés Mayán -Magazine La Gaceta - Magazine Prometeo- (Cuba), DaGenius (Comoros), Carlos Villalobos (Costa Rica), Marco Tulio Alfaro (Costa Rica), Lucila Lema (Quechua nation, Ecuador), Philippe Tancelin (France), Zoë Skoulding (Wales), Shota Iatashvili (Georgia), Anja Utler (Germany), Rajendra Kishore Panda (India), Claudio Pozzani (Italy), Jeton Kelmendi (Kosovo), Rethabile Masilo (Lesotho), Amale Haddazi (Morocco), Roberto Reséndiz Carmona (Mexico), Chary Gumeta (Mexico), Ela Urriola (Panama), Isolda Morillo (Peru-Popular Republic of China), Dariusz Lebioda (Poland), Boaventura de Sousa (Portugal), Vadim Terekhin (Rusia), Ahmed Al Mulla (Saudi Arabia), Dragan Dragojlovic (Serbia), David wa Maahlamela (South Africa),  Nashua Gallagher (Sri Lanka), Tarek Eltayeb (Sudan), Heike Fiedler (Switzerland), Sabri Rahmouni (Tunisia), Khédija Gadhoum (Tunisia), Anna Selby (United Kingdom), Tyehimba Jess (United States), Mohammed Saleh Al-Lawzi (Yemen). They have also confirmed the laureates with the Alternative Nobel Prizeo Raúl Montenegro (Argentina) and Iván Velásquez (Colombia); The Russian cosmonaut Alexander Lazutkin, the Colombian plastic artist Eduardo Esparza and the scientists Gabriel Jaime Gómez, Francisco Restrepo Gallego (Colombia); the philosopher Juan Guillermo Gómez (Colombia).

Additional Information

Published 01.03.2019

Última actualización: 03/06/2021