13º International Poetry Festival of Medellín
Apart from some press articles about the Festival in all these years, which have been no more than brief items or descriptions, we dont know about the existence of a serious study or an analysis of the Festival as a cultural phenomenon. Numberless are the reports by poets in the sense that what happens in Medellín with respect to poetry has no parallel in any other part of the world. On the other hand, works studying the phenomenon of violence are plentiful, so much so that this may be the only country where the profession of violentology exists. What explains that in a city classified as one of the most violent in the world, there are young people truly enthusiastic about art and in particular about poetry, in a way without parallel in the world?
With 77 poetry readings, the XIII International Poetry Festival of Medellín, was held between June 14 and 21, 2003, before packed houses. And one cannot assert, without being disrespectful to it, that the audience is ignorant or insensitive. Any one that has attended the readings of the Festival can confirm that we are talking about listeners who select and choose, who absorb poems deeply, who know that poetry is also about them. It would seem that the traditional rhetoric, the academia rhetoric, the political rhetoric, the rhetoric of the media, are not enoug to answer the questions or satisfy the needs of our young people (one must not forget that 80% of our listeners are young people aged 15 to 25). Poetry then appears here as an alternative, not to give definite answers to each one of the listeners, but for these to think about themselves and their environment with a new and renewing perspective.
The International Poetry Festival of Medellín has proved that if one conceives projects of an open and popular character for all, the impact, although its immediate effect is intangible because it acts on the spirit, is also positive and direct. And we are sure about something else: The International Poetry Festival is not a mass performance or aimed at an amorphous mass, or to ignore the darkest aspects of our reality. Poetry arises precisely from a conscience of darkness and from the necessity to throw light on reality from the perspective of beauty.
The XIII International Poetry of Medellín carried out 77 poetry readings in Medellín and 18 Colombian cities, in which 64 poets from 39 countries took part. They were: Laura Yasan (Argentina), Blanca Wiethüchter (Bolivia), Thiago de Mello (Brazil), Gonzalo Rojas (Chile), Floridor Pérez (Chile), Cecilia Vicuña (Chile), los colombianos Juan Manuel Roca, Carlos Vásquez, Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Enrique Buenaventura, Nicolás Suescún, Raúl Henao, Samuel Jaramillo, Samuel Vásquez, Omar Castillo, Fernando Linero, Juan Julián Jiménez, Alfredo Vanín, William Ospina, Julián Malatesta, Javier Naranjo; Julieta Dobles (Costa Rica), Ricardo Alberto Pérez (Cuba), Carlos Martí (Cuba), Violeta Luna (Ecuador), Zein Al Abdin Fouad (Egypt), Alfonso Fajardo (El Salvador), Tomaz Salamun (Slovenia), Amancio Prada (Spain) -with the musician Sacha Crisan and Cuco Pérez-, Blanca Andreu (Spain), Amiri Baraka (United States), Amina Baraka (United States), Edessa Ramos (Philippines); Atukwei Okai (Ghana), Katerina Angelaki-Rook (Greece), Humberto Ak´Abal (Maya Nation, Guatemala), Rubén Izaguirre Fiallos (Honduras), Saadi Yousef (Iraq), Biancamaria Frabotta (Italy), Mbala (Jamaica), Yasuki Fukushima (Japan), Jack Mapanje (Malawi), José Luis Rivas (Mexico), Briceida Cuevas (Nación Maya, México), Blanca Castellón (Nicaragua), Abadio Green (Nación Tule-Kuna, Panamá), Luis María Martínez (Paraguay), Renato Gómez (Perú), Marcos Rodríguez Frese (Puerto Rico), Francesca Beard (United Kingdom), Mateo Morrison (Dominican Republic), Andrei Voznesenski (Russia), Vahé Godel (Switzerland), Claire Krähenbühl (Switzerland), Lasse Söderberg (Sweeden), Sandile Dikeni (South Africa), Louise Wondel (Surinam), Tugrul Tanyol (Turkey), Sainkho Namtchylak (Tuva) -With the percusionist Daniel Klemmer (Austria), Silvia Guerra (Uruguay), Gustavo Pereira (Venezuela), Alfredo Chacón (Venezuela).
In its alternative program, the following events take place: The VII School of Poetry of Medellín; the V Display of Poetry Books and Reviews, of 2,300 titles of 34 Colombian and foreign publishers; several exhibitions; a filmfest of five poetic Soviet movies, and another one of thirteen anthological videos, realized by Prometeo, as visual Memories of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín.
The I World Poetry Summit for Peace in Colombia
It was is held between June 16 and 19, 2003. In the opening round table take part Messrs David Best (Ambassador in charge of the Switzerland); Guillermo Segura (Undersecretary of Culture of the Municipality of Medellin); Julián Malatesta (Colombian poet who was the moderator of the Summit); Gabriel Jaime Franco (Colombian poet who was the general coordinator of the Festival and the Summit); Francisco Sesto (poet and deputy Minister of Culture of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), and Gonzalo Rojas (Chilean poet).
The themes dealt with are:
Culture and Globalization. Lecturers: María Consuelo Araujo (Minister of Culture of Colombia); Mateo Morrison (executive secretary of the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic); Francisco Sesto (deputy Minister of Culture of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela); and Thiago de Mello (Brazilian poet).
Writers and Politics. Lecturers: Saadi Youssif (Iraqi poet); Enrique Buenaventura (Colombian poet and dramatist); and Amiri Baraka (American poet).
Forced Displacement, Cultural and Spiritual exile. Lecturers (Alfredo Vanín (Colombian poet); Arturo Alape (Colombian writer); and Eduardo Acevedo (member of the National Coordination of Displaced Persons).
Biodiversity, Ethnicity and Cultural Rights. Lecturers: Jack Mapanje (Malawian poet); Abadio Gren (Tule Kuna indigeneous poet); Darío Restrepo (member of the Corporación Ecológica Penca de Sábila); and Jairo Ramírez (member of the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights).
The Colombian Conflict Seen by Colombian poets. Lecturers: The Colombian poets Samuel Vásquez, Juan Manuel Roca, William Ospina, Fernando Rendón and Samuel Jaramillo.
Invited to participate with papers or in the discussions were the participating poets in the event, the national government, the diplomatic corps accredited in Colombia, the most representative political Colombian forces, cultural institutions, national and foreign Human Rights agencies, social organizations of displaced persons, NGO, artists, writers, journalists, scholars and public figures whose opinions may be heard and taken into account, because of their influence on public opinión and among the direct actors of the conflict.