XX International Poetry Festival
of Medellín: An enduring dream
When one does not see a political solution for the bloody war that has ravaged during more than four decades Colombia, the most violent Latin-American country, according to the Human Poverty Index; when poverty and material, spiritual and moral destitution increase in one of the countries with more biodiversity and natural resources in the world; when despair and dejection discourage millions of persons who suffer under such a painful historical circumstance; it is then that the sweet dream of a life renewed from the ground up becomes inevitable, unavoidable, like the birth of a new country.
The International Poetry Festival of Medellin, the largest event of its kind in the world, which was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2006, and recognized as a Cultural Heritage of the Country in 2009, will celebrate its first twenty years between July 8 and 17, 2010.
With the opening of the Festival each year, the spiritual climate of the city is transformed and new forms of contemplating, comprehending and changing our lives spring forth. With its massive assistance, it is a call for fraternity, and poetry empowers those who speak and their listeners. Although the International Poetry Festival of Medellin cannot achieve peace in Colombia, it can help to reconstruct life from language, contributing in this way to peace and reconciliation, by instilling poetry in the heart of all the people without exclusions, through a plural, solidary and profound language, creating new ways of representing the world different from violence, developing imagination and thought in the city and bringing up human beings more sensitive and humane, more receptive and plural. Poetry is a singing that humanizes the conscience of everyone.
Some of the main protagonists of the Festival Hill be the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, several times a candidate for the Nobel Literatura Prize, who read his poems in Medellín in 1969; the Africans, Niyi Osundare (Nigeria), Luís Carlos Patraquim (Mozambique), Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo (Guinea), Alhaji Papa Susso (Gambia), Christopher Okemwa (Kenya), Mohammed Bennis (Marrakech; the Asians Hadaa Sendoo (Mongolia), Imtiaz Dharker (India), U Sam Oeur (Cambodia), Nathalie Handal (Palestine), los European Uwe Kolbe (Germany), Jean Clarence Lambert (France), Jules Deelder (Low Countries), Braño Hochel (Slovenia), Luigi Cinque (Italy); el New Zealander James Norcliffe, the Latin Americans Gustavo Pereira (Venezuela), Homero Aridjis (Mexico), Claudio Willer (Brazil), and the Colombians Raúl Henao, Jotamario Arbeláez y Darío Jaramillo Agudelo, entre otros. In this extraordinary international event will also take part the Native American poets Juan Gregorio Regino (Mazateca, Mexico), Aiban Wagua (Kuna, Panama), Vito Apushana (Wayuu, Colombia) and Lucila Lema (Quechua, Ecuador).
The Festival is organized by the Prometeo poetry review, founded in 1982, and it is backed by the Municipality of Medellín, the City Council of this city, the Dutch foundations Hivo, Döen and Prince Clause Fonds, the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, the Confiar Benefit Society, the Governorship of Antioquia, the embassies in Colombia of Switzerland and France, the Technical Cooperation German Agency (GTZ), Comfenalco and the Caipirinha foundation, among other institutions.
The International Poetry Festival of Medellin was founded in April of 1991 in opposition to the state of terror resulting from the confluence of tough armed confrontations and crimes committed throughout the country. During its two decades, it has become the most crowded festival of poetry in the world and with the widest geographical representation.
The complete list of poets participating in the Festival is as follows: Vladimir Marku (Albania), Teresa Colom (Andorra), Althea Romeo-Mark (Antigua), Esteban Moore (Argentina), Lola Koundakjian (Armenia), Quito Nicolaas (Aruba), Udo Kawasser (Austria), Obediah Michael Smith (Bahamas), Quamruzzaman (Bangladesh), Homero Carvalho (Bolivia), Paul Dakeyó (Cameroon), Alberto Vélez, Andrea Cote, Ángela García, Argemiro Menco, Berenice Pineda, Claudia Trujillo, Consuelo Hernández, Eduardo Peláez, Fernando Rendón, Gabriel Arturo Castro, Gabriel Jaime Franco, Gustavo Garcés, Héctor Fagot, Jairo Guzmán, José Libardo Porras, Juan Diego Tamayo, Juan Diego Velásquez, León Gil, Marco Mejía, Pedro Arturo Estrada, Piedad Bonnett, Rafael Patiño, Sarah Beatriz Posada, Tarsicio Valencia, Tatiana Mejía, Umberto Senegal, Walther Espinal (Colombia), Guillermo Sáenz Patterson (Costa Rica), Domingo Alfonso, Oscar Cruz (Cuba), Verónica Zondek, Javier Campos (Chile), Mette Moestrup (Denmark), Amin Hadad, Arif Khudairi (Egypt), Lauri García Dueñas (El Salvador), Bob Holman, Ken McCullough (United States), Gemino H. Abad (the Philippines), Alice Caron Lambert, Julien Delmaire (France), Carolina Escobar Sarti (Guatemala), John Agard, Grace Nichols (Guyana), Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (Liberia), Howard A. Fergus (Monserrat), Erling Kittelsen (Norway), Carlos Villagra Marsal (Paraguay), Renato Sandoval (Peru), Caroline Bird (United Kingdom), Rei Berroa (Dominican Republic), Milena Ercolani (San Marino), Cecil "Blazer" Williams (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Hala Mohammad (Syria), Indran Amirthanayagam (Sri Lanka/United States ), Jenny Tunedal, Lasse Söderberg (Sweden), Fabiano Alborghetti (Switzerland), Jean Jacques Sewanou-Dabla (Togo), y Ophir Alviarez (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela).
Nearly 1000 poets
from 158 countries in 20 years
When the human spirit is undermined by the crossfire of death, poetry revives it. Since the dawn of humanity poetry was congregation, a celebration of existence, an initiation in the mysteries and the transmission of knowledge. It was in this way that human beings discovered the power of their spirit, their creative capacity and the transformative power of language. The human essence is embodied in its condition of dialogue and symbolic interchange, which develop a singular conscience and enrichment of life.
Through poetry human beings can conjure the pulse of death and have the vision of a superior world, in which peaceful coexistence is possible. This thought has supported the existence of the International Poetry Festival of Medellin during two decades, becoming an organic part of a society that demands it as a banner of its collective imaginary.
When the Festival opens officially on July 8th of this year at 6:30 p.m. in the open air theater in the Cerro Nutibara, nearly one thousand poets from 158 countries will have come to this event in its first two decades. For the first time poets from Kenya, Guinea, Andorra, Cambodia, Armenia, Slovakia, San Marino, Aruba, Montserrat, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Giving a voice to the public and in their own words expressed in surveys made during the nineteenth Festival, this is: Flame. Ambrosia. Illumination. Universality. Energy. Ocean. Fascination. A house for all. History. Energy. Spirit. Reconciliation. Calm. Unity. A collective dream. Growth. Multiplicity. Transformation. Enjoyment. Knowledge. Daring. Celebration. Flight. Live, passion and hope. Renewal. Movement. Awakening. Integration. Multiplicity. Inclusion. Identity. World connection. Freedom. The marvelous unexpected.