31st Medellin International Poetry Festival

Memory, Survival And Future


With the confirmed presence of 185 poets and guests from 100 countries from five continents, the 31st International Poetry Festival of Medellin will be held virtually from August 1 to 29, 2021. It will be a space for meeting and reflection, rooted in the spiritual and cultural tradition that is contained in poetry, about the present time, the future we wish and want to move forward. A journey through the poetic and philosophical thought of the contemporary world, guided by the urgency of founding a luminous horizon for humanity, at a time when humanity and life are threatened and restricted in their freedoms and possibilities, because of the pandemic and governments with different interests to the welfare of its citizens.

Humanity today faces great challenges, poetry is the essential language that, expanding endlessly, allows us to live more deeply and to visualize what it is essential that we must do, personally and as a society, to stop desertification, the disappearance of species and dehumanization.

Poetry enables dialogue between different cultures, making this encounter a universal dialogue of great quality and depth. Poetry gathers the cultural legacy of each people, reflects with broad vision, responsibility and creativity, showing what makes us truly human, how beautiful and simple is the love for life, solidarity and the embrace of peoples. The rich conjunction of voices and thoughts that will be found in the Medellín Poetry Festival make it a privileged space of knowledge, emotions and sensitivity, bringing together 170 emblematic personalities from 100 countries of five continents.

In a time of isolation and bewilderment, the Festival will once again be accompanying for a month, with top quality programming and guests, the Colombian people and followers from all over the world who, in 2020, celebrating its first 30 years, deployed a virtual manifestation without precedent in the world: for 70 days, 200 guests performed 132 poetry readings and dialogues from 103 countries, saluting our journey. 385,000 attendees, from a hundred countries, celebrated this conjunction of diverse voices, discovering in them the profound uniqueness of the human being: its past, its becoming and its future.


Central Poets


The group of invited poets from the African continent is headed by Abdellatif Laâbi (Morocco), Grand Prix de la Francophonie in 2011; Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Commonwealth Writers' Prize 1992; Ismaël Diadié Haïdara (Mali), Roger Garaudy Foundation Prize for Historical Research, 1991; the poet Nimrod Bena (Chad), Edouard Glissant Prize and Apollinaire Prize; and Jean Luc Raharimanana (Madagascar).

Participating Latin American poets include Raúl Zurita (Chile), Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, 2020; Giovanni Quessep (Colombia), René Char World Poetry Prize 2015; Jorge Cocom Pech (Mexico, Mayan nation), Poet of the Year at the Poetry Festival of the Americas 2016; Mario Campaña (Ecuador), National Poetry Prize; Graciela Maturo (Argentina).

Also confirmed are the indigenous poets Hubert Matiúwaà (Mexico, Mè'phàà nation), 2017 Prize for Indigenous Literatures of the Americas; Juana Peñate Montejo (Mexico, Chol nation); Adriana López (Mexico, Tzeltal nation); Manuel Bolom Pale (Mexico, Maya-Totsil nation), Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj (Guatemala, Maya Kíche' nation), Roxana Miranda Rupailaf (Chile, Mapuche nation) and Pedro Ortiz (Inga nation, Colombia).

From the northern part of the American continent will be Robert Hass (United States), United States Poet Laureate, Wallace Stevens Award and Pulitzer Prize; Carolyn Forché (United States), James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; Anne Carson (Canada), Princess of Asturias Award for Letters; and Natasha Kanapé Fontaine (Canada, Innu nation).

From the Asian continent, we highlight the presence of Adonis (Syria), pioneer of modern Arab poetry, winner of the 1994 Nâzım Hikmet Prize, the 2000 Alain Bosquet Prize, the 2008 Max Jacob Prize (France) and the 2011 Goethe Prize, nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature; Ko Un (South Korea), activist for peace and reunification of the Koreas, several times nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature; the poet Michel Cassir (Lebanon), Grand Prix de la Francophonie 2008; and Ibrahim Nasrallah (Jordan-Palestine), winner of the Arar Literary Prize. From China there will be Hu Xian, Lu Xun Prize, 2018; Li Shaojun, editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Poetry; An Qi, initiator of the Generation in-between.

The group of European guest poets includes: Antonio Gamoneda (Spain), one of the most important living poets of his country, was part of the intellectual resistance against Francoism, Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, 2006; Desmond Egan (Ireland), Stanford Prize, 1990; Roger McGough (England), Cholmondeley Award; Charles Simic (Serbia-USA, US Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize 1990, Griffin International Poetry Prize 2007; Jan Erik Vold (Norway), one of the renewers of Norwegian poetry today, Aschehoug Prize, 1981 and Brage Prize for Poetry, 1993; Paul Muldoon (Northern Ireland), Pulitzer Prize 2003; Nuno Júdice (Portugal), Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, 2013; Pia Tafdrup, (Denmark), Nordic Council Literature Prize 1999.

From Oceania, Vaughan Rapatahana (New Zealand) and the poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh (Samoa) will read their poems.

In order to democratize participation in this meeting, the Festival has opened a CALL for entries for poets from all over the world, which is open until 15 May.


Musicians, Philosophers, Activists And Guest Artists


Among the musicians will be Comorian slam pioneer DaGenius; Iranian singers Reza Yazdani, pop-rock musician, and Sahar Ajdamsani; Cuban composer and musician Marta Isabel Campos Morales; Venezuelan singer Cecilia Tood; and Colombian singer and poet Carlos Pala, winner of the Miguel Hernández International Poetry Prize.

Also contributing to the multidisciplinary reflection will be the philosophers Juan Arnau (Spain), Sergio de Zubiría (Colombia), Miguel Hernández (Mexico), Franco Berardi (Italy), Chantall Maillard (Spain), Right Livelihood Award laureates Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Canada); Jacqueline Moudeina (Chad) and René Ngongo (Democratic Republic of Congo); and the Colombian poet and filmmaker Víctor Gaviria.

Other guests include: Fritz Ostermayer, representing the Vienna Poetry School (Austria), journalist Daniel Coronell (Colombia).

Every year a visual artist accompanies the Festival with his work, and this year it will be the visual artist Germán Londoño, who was born in Medellín and has had multiple solo exhibitions in Colombia and abroad, with the series "Caballos, Guerreros y Desastres" (Horses, Warriors and Disasters).


Other Confirmed Participating Poets


In addition to all of the above, there will also be African poets Toyin Adewale Gabriel (Nigeria); Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong (Namibia); Möez Majed (Tunisia); Elizabeth L. Kamara (Sierra Leone); Saba Kidane (Eritrea); Fátima Galia (Western Sahara); Recaredo Silebo Boturu (Equatorial Guinea); Samira Negrouche (Algeria); Mpesse Géraldin (Cameroon), and Nama Abdalla (Libya).

Latin Americans Feliciano Acosta (Paraguay), Tanussi Cardoso (Brazil); Julie Patton (United States), Dolores Etchecopar (Argentina); Horacio Cavallo (Uruguay); Nilton Santiago (Peru); Micaela Mendoza (Bolivia); Mayra Oyuela (Honduras); Ana María Rivas (El Salvador), Argentinians Ana Arzoumanian, Juan Arabia (Argentina) and Venezuelans Ana María Oviedo, José Gregorio Vásquez and Antonio Trujillo.

Colombian poets Rubén Darío Flórez, Darío Villegas; Luis Fernando Cuartas, Mery Yolanda Sánchez, Gustavo Garcés, Iván Graciano Morelo, Anna Francisca Rodas, Uriel Cassiani, Lauren Mendinueta, Luis Arturo Restrepo, Fátima Vélez, Carlos Andrés Jaramillo, Andrés Álvarez; Manuela Salinas, Stefhany Rojas Wagner, Caribbean poets Belen Kock-Marchena (Bonaire); John Agard (British Guiana), Casa de las Américas Prize, 1982; Grace Nichols (Guyana), Cholmondeley Prize, 2000; Marion Bethel (Bahamas), Casa de las Américas Prize; Yvonne Weekes (Montserrat); Joanne Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda). David Hough Literary Award for Caribbean writers, 2011; Cuba's Lucía Muñoz, Teresa Melo and Basilia Papastamatiu; Ann-Margaret Lim (Jamaica); Jean Jacques Pierre-Paul (Haiti), poet, painter, printmaker, translator and surgeon; Quinsy Gario, Curaçao.

The poets from the Asian continent who will also be at the Medellin event are Mai Van Phan (Vietnam), Mamang Dai (India), Padma Shri Prize, Nguyen Quang Thieu (Vietnam), Eldar Ajadov (Russia); Momila Joshi (Nepal), Nepal Poetry Academy Prize; Dinah Roma (Philippines; Hussein Habasch (Kurdistan), Mari Kashiwagi (Japan); Sadıg Garayev (Azerbaijan), Ahlam Bsharat (Palestine), Raed Al-Jishi (Saudi Arabia), Gopilal Acharya (Bhutan); Ammar Al Naggar (Yemen); Nafia Akdeniz (Cyprus). 

Other Europeans reading will include Richard Berengarten (England), Keats Poetry Prize; Jochen Kelter (Germany); Zhivka Baltadzhieva (Bulgaria), Philippe Tancelin (France), co-director of L'Harmattan Publishing House; Elena Popescu (Romania), poet, essayist, journalist, teacher, translator and editor; Valeriu Stancu (Romania); Sotirios Pastakas (Greece); Hilary Davies (Wales); Attila Balázs (Slovakia); Jordi Virallonga (Spain); Ertuğrul Erdoğan (Turkey); Oksana Zabuzhko (Ukraine); Zoë Skoulding (Wales); Aase Berg (Sweden); co-founder of the Stockholm Surrealist group; Owen Lowery (England); Pádraig Ó Tuama (Ireland), poet and theologian, leader of the Corrymeela, Ireland's oldest peace and reconciliation community; Tomica Bajsić (Croatia); Philip Meersman (Belgium); Dimitris Angelís (Greece); Teresa Colom (Andorra); Karl Schembri (Malta); Malta Press Award 2000; Marije Langelaar (Netherlands); Mitko Gogov (Macedonia) and Jana Orlová (Czech Republic).


Sponsors And Supporters

The festival is convened and organized by Prometeo Magazine, Prometeo Art and Poetry Corporation and World Poetry Movement. It is supported by the Mayor's Office of Medellín, the Global Campus for Human Rights, which is part of the educational initiatives of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, and Cooperativa Financiera Confiar.

The participation of poets and guests is supported by Embassies and institutes for the promotion of culture and literature in each country, such as the Embassy of Ireland, the Embassy of Spain, the Embassy of Canada, the Goethe Institute Colombia, NORLA, the Embassy of Mexico, the Embassy of the Netherlands, among others.

For this year that the pandemic has hit hard the economy of cultural initiatives, despite the event being recognized as Cultural Heritage of Colombia and that the Colombian Ministry of Culture announced to have the largest budget in history for culture, also it announced a reduction of 50% of the budget for the Festival.

Published on 22.04.2021

Última actualización: 20/02/2022