Biographical Information of Invited poets to the XX International Poetry Festival of Medellín
Biographical Information of Invited poets to the
XX International Poetry Festival of Medellín
POETS OF AFRICA
NIYI OSUNDARE was born in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, in 1947. He is a New Orleans/Nigerian poet, dramatist, critical essayist, and columnist. He is Professor of English at Universities of New Orleans and Ibadan. Osundare is an intensely political poet and a vehement champion for human rights. His award-winning Selected Poems were published by Heinemann in 1992. Osundare's more than two dozen books include his most recent collection of poetry, Days (2008). He is one of the most prominent within the generation of contemporary Anglophone Nigerian poets that emerged after Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark-Bekederemo, and Gabriel Okara. His poems have won many national and international prizes, among which was the 1986 Commonwealth Poetry Prize. His published works include: I Sing of Change; Songs of the Marketplace; Village Voices; Moonsongs; The Eye of the Earth; The Nib in the Pond; Waiting Laughters; and Midlife.
Osundare draws copiously from the oral tradition, and his imagery and settings are essentially rural. He says his primary purpose is to demystify poetry and make it accessible to the ordinary man for whom he sings. As the voice of the people, his condemnation of the ruling class and of social vices in general is unequivocal and his call for change in every facet of society unprecedented.
ALHAJI PAPA SUSSO is a master kora player and an oral historian born on 29 September 1947 in the village of Sotuma Sere in Gambia. He hails from a long line of griots (traditional oral historians) of the Mandinka people and has been playing the kora since the age of five. The Kora is 21-stringed harp-lute, evolved from earlier hunter harps used by the Mandinka people of West Africa. In 1974, he resigned from the group to form “The Manding Music and Dance Limited”, a company dedicated to conducting research and carrying out studies into the history, traditions and ethnomusicology of Manding. He says its aim is also “to carry on the business and to assist the performing artists in the presentation of music and folklore of Manding and to revive, expose and promote a better understanding and appreciation of the music culture of the Manding”. Papa Susso has performed in several countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle West, and North America, and in venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in the African Odyssey series production of Sundiata: Liong king of Mali.
In 1991, he was appointed as Regent’s Lecturer in Ethno musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also the director of the Koriya Musa Research Center in Gambia, which was established in order to promote research into traditional cultures of the area. Today Papa Susso is a goodwill ambassador traveling all over the world, giving both classroom presentations and formal concert performances where he recounts the history of his country and his people, discusses the roles of griots in West African Culture and performs the classic songs of the griot repertoire. He has two albums, Sotuma-Sere which is a mix of imploring praise proverbs and A Gathering of Elders: (Water Lily Acoustics) which mixes ancient kora melodies and African-American rhythms.
MOHAMMED BENNIS was born in Fés, Morocco in 1948. His interest in literature, in particular for lyric, developed already at an early age. During his studies at the Department of Philosophy in Fés he began corresponding with the Syrian poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said) who published Bennis' first poems in 1969. Numerous other volumes of verse and essays have followed up to the present - not in French, as is so often the case in the Maghreb, but instead in Arabic. Bennis' relationship to French culture is ambivalent. While he rejects the ideology of francophone policy - which for him represents a form of colonizing globalization - he very much appreciates the French language as such: "As a modern Arab poet I am committed to French culture and its modernity".
This close relationship is reflected in the translations of their own works on which Arab poets are especially dependent if they want to be read outside of their own culture. Several of Bennis' collections of poems have already been translated into French; among them Le don du vide, 1992, for which he received the Moroccan literary award "Grand prix du livre" in 1993. In addition, Bennis has made a name for himself as an Arab translator of Abdelwahab Meddeb who writes in French, as well as the French poet Bernard Noël. Meddeb for his part translated Bennis' poems into French. In Germany, Bennis' poems can be found in two anthologies: "Zwischen Zauber und Zeichen. Moderne arabische Lyrik von 1945 bis heute" (2000, t: Between Signs and Magic. Modern Arab Lyric from 1945 to the Present) and "Die Farbe der Ferne" (2000, t: The Color of Distance). Bennis' efforts are aimed at the modernization of Arab poetry. He ranks among the most important voices in Arab literature. His writing is characterized by having borrowed from traditional mysticism and surrealism. As a result, his verse is remarkable for its radical succinctness and simultaneous reproduction of the various levels of sense. In 1996 he became a founding member and president of "Maison de la Poésie" in Casablanca. Bennis lives in Rabat where he has been teaching Literature at the university since 1980. Bibliography: Chant pour un jardin de l´eau, 1999; La don du vide, 1999; Désert au bord de la lumière, 1999; Fleuve entre des funérailles, 2003; Le livre de l’amour, 2008.
PAUL DAKEYO was born in Bafoussam, Cameroon, in 1948. He is a pivotal figure in the postindependence generation of African Writers in France. His poetry of revolutionary love creates a bridge between the writing of combat and the works of the intimate generation of Parisianists. Dakeyo’s collections of poetry include Les Barbeles du Matin, 1973; Chant d’Accusation, 1976; Le Cri Pluriel, 1976; Soweto: Soleils Fusillés, 1977; J’appartiens au grand jour, 1979; La Femme où j’ai mal, 1989 and Les Ombres de la Nuit, 1994. In addition to his writing, Dakeyo was a founding editor of Éditions Silex and is the editorial director of Éditions Nouvelles du Sud. These two publishing houses have provided important literary outlets for African Writers.
“Some people ask me, “¿How did you come up with that? Do you enter a state of trance in order to write?” “I answer that form me, it’s simple a matter of putting myself into a context. Just as an interview, you have a person in front of you and something happens. There’s a certain chemistry that makes you want to communicate. It’s the same way with poetry. In poetry, there’s a total communication. Aime Cesaire once said that the secret of great communication is great combustion. And I think in the case of poetry, that’s exactly what happens. When something takes place between two people, there’s a discourse. Writing poetry is like that. Some academics think that all you need is a certain background, then you can write. For them, it’s like building a house. You have the foundations, the cement and the roof. All you need is a mason to put it all together. Well, writing poetry is not all like that. It’s special…”
LUÍS CARLOS PATRAQUIM (born 1953, Mozambique) is a journalist and author. He writes in the genres of poetry and drama. Patraquim's poems reflect his life marked by the experience of exile. As a young person he fled to Sweden to escape the war of independence in Mozambique and returned in 1975 after Mozambique had gained independence. In 1986 he left his homeland again, which was continually shaken by crises even after independence, and in which the Marxist Freedom Party had seized power. Since then he has lived in Portugal. While political themes dominate in Patraquim's poetry, he also writes, in addition to poems dealing with the subject of 'exilio melancolico', poems partly inspired by the passion of being in love, which are sometimes openly sexual. Patraquim was awarded the Prémio Nacional de Poesia, Moçambique in 1995.
KOUMANTHIO ZEINAB DIALLO was born in 1956 at Labé in Guinea. She hails from a rich poetic tradition. Her first work was dedicated to her children, Dalanda (Lynda), Ousmane (Mawdo), Mamadou (Vieux) and Tguidanké (Nene). Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo is a foundation member of the Guinean branch of the PEN Club International, a member of the International Committee of Women Writers and of several other literary associations. She gained a first prize for poetry written in the Pular language in 1990. An Agricultural Engineer by profession, she has been a development consultant for UNDP (United Nations Development Programme).
Poetry publications: Comme les Pétales du Crépuscule; A ritual of hope; The roots of despair; Past and present beauties; Pellun Gondhi; Les Epines de l'amour; Le Rire du silence [The Joy of Silence], 2005. Narrative books: Le fils du roi Guémé et autres contes du Fouta Djallon de Guinée. [The son of the King of Guémé and other stories of Guinea's Fouta Djallon], 2004; Daado l'orpheline et autres contes du Fouta Djallon de Guinée. [Daado the orphan and other stories of Guinea's Fouta Djallon], 2004. Theatre: Les Humiliées. [Humiliated Women], 2005.
JEAN JACQUES SEWANOU-DABLA was born in Benin in 1956. He lived his chilhood in Benin and Senegal and studied Secondary school and University in Togo. He is professor of Litterature and has obtained Master and Ph.D of Littterature. Between 1977 and 1981 he was professor of French in Togo. Between 1981 – 2010 : (in France). He has published 10 books (essays, short story and poems; some are presented in website: www.harmattan.fr
MARIE LOUISE SIBAZURI was born in Burundi and lives exiled in Belgium. She is poet, short-story writer, playwright and dancer. Her soft, firm voice speaks out in the Great Lakes region. From her library in Louvain-la-Neuve, she writes radio plays in kirundi, broadcast by Studio Ijambo in Bujumbura. Umubanyi niwe muryango (Our neighbours are our family) is the most popular radio programme in Burundi. Twice a week for twenty-five minutes, she recounts the daily life of two families, one Hutu, the other Tutsi. The programme explores their lives from day-to-day, showing how they maintain their friendship despite crises and problems. Since 1997, Marie-Louise Sibazuri has been using this radio programme to try to help break down barriers between Hutus and Tutsis, for the construction of durable peace. Her programmes are more than a story they depict social guidelines to convince listeners that there is always a way to get along.
PATRICIA JABBEH WESLEY was born in Tugbakeh, Maryland County, Liberia in West Africa, in 1955 and grew up in Monrovia, Liberia. She and her family were forced to flee their homeland of Liberia when civil war broke out, and they immigrated to the United States in 1991. Jabbeh Wesley’s poetry and activism has focused much attention on the Liberian civil war, the plight of Liberian refugees of war, and the subsequent end to that war. She is a survivor of that horrific civil war that ravaged Liberia, West Africa, from 1989-2003. Jabbeh Wesley is an award winning author of three full length books of poetry. Her books include The River is Rising, published by Autumn House Press in 2007, Becoming Ebony, published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2003 and Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa, published by New Issues Press in 1998. Her second book of poetry, Becoming Ebony won Second Prize in the 2002 Crab Orchard Award’s Second Book Poetry Open Competition. She is currently editing her fourth book of poems in preparation for publication. Wesley has won several other awards and fellowships, including the World Bank Fellowship, The Dames Endowed Fellowship at Western Michigan University, and The Irving S. Gilmore Emerging Artist Grant from the Kalamazoo Foundation, Kalamazoo, MI. She has published dozens of poems and some essays in many international literary journals and anthologies, including, the New Orleans Review, the Crab Orchard Review, Bending the Bow: Anthology of African Love Poems, Prometeo 2007, and many others. Jabbeh Wesley has traveled widely across the US, to China and other African countries, speaking on issues of war, women’s trauma stories, and reading her poetry. She was a participant in the International Poetry Festival of Medellin in 2007. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Penn State University Altoona.
POETS OF AMERICA
DOMINGO ALFONSO was born in the small town of Jovellanos in Matanzas, Cuba in 1935. He spent much of his early life there and then graduated from Havana University with a degree in Architecture in 1969. Over the last 50 years the poetry of Domingo Alfonso has been published in some of the leading literary and cultural magazines in his country. Some of these include: Islas (ONBAP), Poesías, Revista Unión, La Gaceta de Cuba, Casa de las Américas, Revolución y Cultura and Mujeres.
Domingo Alfonso's writing demonstrates an ability to discover poetry in the mundane, as he casts an incisive eye on the daily rituals of ordinary people in everyday situations. His work has been widely published and included in his prolific literary output are the following poetry anthologies: Sueño en el papel (ONBAP, 1959), Poemas del hombre común (Unión, 1964), Historia de una persona (Unión, 1968), Libro de buen humor (Unión, 1979), Esta aventura de vivir (Unión, 1987), Vida que es angustia (Unión, 1998), Antología casi final and En la ciudad dorada (Unión, 2002). His manuscript of Un transeúnte cualquiera - poems from 2002 to 2005 - is as yet unpublished.
HOWARD A. FERGUS was born in Monserrat in 1937. He has published widely in the areas of history, education, politics, poetry, and literary criticism. He is the author of over 20 books and monographs including: Montserrat: History of a Caribbean Colony; Gallery Montserrat, Some Prominent People in our History; Lara Rains and Colonial Rites; Volcano Song: Poems of an Island in Agony; History of Education in the British Leeward Islands 1838-1945; Volcano Verses; Christmas Festival and More Volcano Poems; Breaking Down the Walls: An Evolution of the Extra-Mural Department of the University of the West Indies 1947-2000 with L. Bernard and J. Soares; and Love Labor Liberation in Lasana Sekou. Honors and awards include the BBC Caribbean Poetry Competition Second Prize (1980); The Caribbean Writer Poetry Prize (1992); David Hough Literary Prize (2002); Montserrat Badge and Certificate of Honor; University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence; and a knighthood (KBE) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England. A professor of Eastern Caribbean studies and former University of the West Indies Resident Tutor, Montserrat, Dr. Fergus was Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Council (1974-2001) and has been acting periodically as Governor since 1976. His most recent book of poems, I Believe (2008), was a required literary text at the University of the west Indies in 2008.
HOMERO ARIDJIS was born in Contepec, Michoacan, Mexico, on April 6, 1940. He is the author of 36 books of poetry, fiction, drama, and children’s stories, many translated into a dozen languages. Aridjis has won the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, Diana-Novedades Prize, Grinzane-Cavour Prize, Prix Roger Caillois, Smederevo Golden Key, Erendira State Prize for the Arts, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the UNEP Global 500 Award, Orion Society’s John Hay Award, NRDC’s Force for Nature Award, and Mikhail Gorbachev and Global Green’s International Environmental Leadership Award. Former Mexican Ambassador to Switzerland and The Netherlands, Aridjis also served as president of International PEN from 1997 to 2003.
GUSTAVO PEREIRA was born in Venezuela in 1940. Poet, literary critic, essayist and advocate. He is one of the most important poets of his generation. Poetry books: Los tambores de la aurora, 1961; Preparativos del viaje, 1964; En plena estación, 1965; Hasta reventar, 1966; El interior de las sombras, 1968; Los cuatro horizontes del cielo, 1970; Poesía de qué, 1971; Libro de los Somaris, 1973; Segundo libro de los Somaris, 1979; Vivir contra morir, 1988; El peor de los oficios, 1990; La fiesta sigue, 1992, Escrito salvaje, 1993; Costado indio, 1999; Oficio de partir, 1999; Historias del paraíso, 1999; Dama de niebla, 1999; Cuaderno terrestre, 1999; Poesía de bolsillo, 2002; Sentimentario, 2004; Poesía selecta, 2004; Los seres invisibles, 2005. He has received several literary prices amongst them: Premio Fundarte de Poesía, 1993; Premio de la XII Bienal Literaria José Antonio Ramos Sucre, 1997 and Premio Nacional de Literatura, 2000.
CLÁUDIO WILLER was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1940. He is a poet, essayist and translator. Poetry books: Anotações para um Apocalipse, 1964; Dias Circulares, 1976; Jardins da Provocação, 1981; Volta, 1996; Estranhas Experiências, 2004; Poemas para leer en voz alta, 2008. He translated to Portuguese some works of Isidore Ducasse, Antonin Artaud and Allen Ginsberg. As a critic and essayist, he has collaborated with magazines and cultural publications such as: Jornal da Tarde, Jornal do Brasil, revista Isto É, jornal Leia, Folha de São Paulo, etc. He has been the president of the Brazilian Writers Union. He studied sociology, psychology and obtained a doctorate in Comparative Literature. He is Co-editor of the electronic Review Agulha.
KEN MCCULLOUGH was born in the USA. His most recent books of poetry are Obsidian Point, 2003 and Walking Backwards, 2005, as well as a book of stories, Left Hand, 2004. He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Academy of American Poets Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pablo Neruda Award, a Galway Kinnell Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Award, the Blue Light Book Award and the Capricorn Book Award. He has also received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Iowa Arts Council, and the Jerome Foundation to continue translating the work of U Sam Oeur, survivor of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Sacred Vows, a bilingual edition of U’s poetry with McCullough’s translations, was published in 1998. U’s memoir, Crossing Three Wildernesses, co-written with McCullough, was published in 2005. McCullough lives in Winona, Minnesota with his wife and younger son. He is an administrator at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and teaches writing courses for the Hawk’s Well Literary Center.
RAÚL HENAO was born in Cali, Colombia, in 1944. He represented his country in the Second Congress of Spanish Language Writers held in Caracas, Venezuela (1981), with the presentation: “The Identity of Latin American Surrealist Poetry”. In 1982, he co-authored the important poetry anthology Antología de Poetas Parasurrealistas Latinoamericanos (with Stefan Baciu), which was published in Mele magazine (XVII, 56) of Honolulu, Hawaii. Henao writes for surrealist magazines like Dunganon (Sweden), Ojo de Aguijón (France), Arsenal (USA), and La Tortue-Lièvre (Canada) on a regular basis. In 2001 he participated in the International Poetry Festival of Curtea de Arges, Rumania. Books of poetry: Duel of Carnival and Lent, 1973; The Lion´s Share, 1978; Night Drinker, 1978; The Uncast Die, 1980; Black Sun, 1985; The Devil´s Party, 1989; The Mirrors’ Viceroy, 1996; Life a la Carte, 1998.
RAFAEL PATIÑO GÓEZ, born in Medellín in 1947, is a poet, painter, translator and an expert in bioenergetics. His poems have been published in some outstanding magazines and journals, and he has translated poetry from around the world. A classic autodidact, he went on to hold university posts in French, English and cybernetic art. That good poetic works should remain concealed from the public for many years may seem strange but it is not uncommon. When he was 23 years-old, a university published Patiño’s first book in a very small and modest edition and afterwards he self-published the rest of his books, including an anthology of African-French speaking poets, with the aid of a computer. Rafael Patiño has written five books of good poetry but they barely exist in Colombia’s poetic canon.
Patiño’s poetry is suffused with sardonic humor and peopled by imaginary beings and animals that perform marvelous deeds; language is freely associative or distorted, creating odd yet vivid images. The poet has, in sum, found his own quite peculiar form. Patiño is certainly a poet who as he says in one of his poems, in his quite characteristic manner, “[is a] solsticed excrescence of humanity, /gathering the froth of miserable cries.”
DARÍO JARAMILLO AGUDELO was born in Santa Rosa de Osos in the province of Antioquia in northwest Colombia in 1947. He studied Law and Economics at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Dario Jaramillo Agudelo published his first book of poetry, Historias, in 1974. Four years later his second book of verse, Tratado de retórica, received the Premio Nacional de Poesía. His debut novel, 1983's, La muerte de Alec - followed by several novels, including Cartas cruzadas and most recently La voz interior, 2006, - proved him also to be a remarkable prose writer. In spite of this, as a writer, Darío Jaramillo Agudelo did not want to have to depend on royalties, scholarships and prize money, which is why, since 1985, he has earned his living as a cultural representative for the National Bank of Columbia. In 1995 Jaramillo Agudelo was made a corresponding member of the Colombian Academy of Languages. He lives in Bogotá. Darío Jaramillo Agudelo's writing overcomes the gap which today separates poetry and prose; he lets the poetic stimulate his literature. In an interview with the Mexican newspaper 'La Jornada' he admitted, "I'm convinced that the only literary genre is that of poetry. A novel, an essay, a reportage is only valuable if it conveys poetic emotion". However, his novels are not sentimental. They are dominated by topics having to do with the violent nature of everyday Columbian life, a subject that is also pursued by Columbia's own literary movement, the 'literatura de la violencia'. Dario Jaramillo Agudelo became popular above all through his series 'Poemas de amor'.
BOB HOLMAN was born in LaFollette, Tennessee, USA, in 1948. Once dubbed the “Poetry Czar” by The Village Voice, Holman has received NEA support for his new poetry media project, World of Poetry, the first digital poetry anthology of its kind.
Among his most important works are his latest collection of poems, A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, and his first CD, In With the Out Crowd. He also co-edited Aloud! Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, which won the American Book Award. Holman won three Emmys producing Poetry Spots for WNYC-TV and earned a Grammy nomination for a release from his poetry record label, Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records (1995-98).
Holman was founding editor of the NYC Poetry Calendar, which curated reading series at St. Marks Church, the Whitney Museum, the Public Theater, among others, and is also the Artistic Director of the Bowery Arts and Science. He teaches at Columbia University.
ALTHEA ROMEO-MARK was born in Antigua, West Indies, in 1948. She was awarded the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize by the Editorial Board of The Caribbean Writer in June, 2009 for publication (short story “Bitterleaf,”) in Volume 22, 2008. She has been published in The Caribbean Writer: Univ. of the Virgin Islands, Vol. 22;2008, Off the Coast, Maine’s International Poetry Journal, Spring 2009, USA, the August 2008 edition of Voodoo and Women in www.womenwriters.net; the November and May edition of Sea Breeze, Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, 2009, the November and May 2008 editions of Sea Breeze, Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings
You will find other published poems and short stories in Seasoning for the Mortar: Virgin Islands Writing in The Caribbean Writer, Volumes 1-15,, ed. Marvin H Williams, 2004; The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review: Poetry of The Caribbean, ed. Tom O’Grady, 2004; Mind the Gap, Writers’ Works, Bern, 2004; Kariba Fortella: An Anthology of Caribbean Short Stories, 2001; Anthology 2000, Writers’ Works Bern; Tickling Along Free, ed. Diane Dicks; Mini Sagas, Daily Telegraph, 1999; Yellow Cedars Blooming: An Anthology of Virgin Islands Poetry, 1998; Lucid Stone; Compost: A Journal of Art, Literature and Ideas, Vol. 96; The Caribbean Writer, 1996, 1995, 2004, 2008; Sisters of Caliban: Contemporary Women Poets in the Caribbean; Anthology of Pan-Caribbean Poetry, ed. Dr. Vincent Cooper; Liberia: Leben Wo der Pfeffer Wächts; and Revista Review Inter-Americana, Inter American University, Puerto Rico. She has published five collections of poems, If Only the Dust Would Settle; Shu-Shu Moko Jumbi: The Silent Dancing Spirit; Palaver; Two Faces, Two Phases and Beyond Dreams: The Ritual Dancer. She has received awards from the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, the Cuyahoga Writers Workshop and Stauffacher English Short Story Competition/Switzerland.
ARGEMIRO MENCO was born in Piza, Sucre, Colombia, in 1948. He is a poet, writer, lawyer, journalist and director of literary workshops. He’s a professor of Literature in the University of Cartagena and the Technological University of Bolívar. Poetry books: Secretos míos,(¡al arca de la luz!), 2000; Las sombras del Asedio, 2007, and Reseñas de naufragios, 2009. Several of his poems have been published in Común Presencia (Bogotá), Cartapacios (México), Candil, Epigrama, Caballito de Mar (Cartagena), El Diario de Aragua (Maracaibo-Venezuela), etc. He has collaborated as a columnist in several journals such as El Espectador, El Universal and El Heraldo.
JUAN DIEGO VELÁSQUEZ was born in Medellín. He co-funded the workshop of writers of the Biblioteca Pública Piloto. He belongs to the direction of the Cineclub Ukamau. He co-funded “The International Day of Theatre” and co-directs the radial program 8,16,35 in the University of Antioquia. He published the collection Cuadernos Uno en Uno. He worked as cinema critic in “El Colombiano” “El Mundo” El Emisor” and Revista Pared. His poems have been published included in cultural publications such as: Cuadernos “Uno en Uno” (Fin de semana); Volumen Nº 2 POETAS EN ABRIL (A Selection of Contemporary Colombian Poetry); Revista Puesto de Combate and 25 años Punto Seguido (Madame Destino); Revista Zócalo, Revista Imago, the newspapers El Mundo, El colombiano, Lucha and Unidad. He has coordinated Poetry Workshops in Pauna and Nariño. He is biographer of Julio Flórez Roa.
JOHN AGARD was born on 21 June 1949 in British Guiana (now Guyana). He is a playwright, poet, short-story and children's writer. He worked for the Guyana Sunday Chronicle newspaper as sub-editor and feature writer before moving to England in 1977, where he became a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute, travelling to schools throughout the UK to promote a better understanding of Caribbean culture. In 1993 he was appointed Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre, London, and became Poet in Residence at the BBC in London, an appointment created as part of a scheme run by the Poetry Society in London. He also played a key role in the 'Windrush' season of programmes in 1998. He won the Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry in 1997 and has travelled extensively throughout the world performing his poetry.
His published poetry includes Man to Pan, 1982, winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize; Limbo Dancer in Dark Glasses, 1983; Mangoes and Bullets: Selected and New Poems 1972-84, 1985 and Weblines, 2000. He is also the author of many children's books, including Lend Me Your Wings, 1987, which was shortlisted for the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. He has contributed to, and edited, several anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse, 1986 and is also co-editor of A Caribbean Dozen, 1994 with his partner, the poet Grace Nichols, with whom he also co-wrote No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock in 1991. Their latest collaboration is From Mouth to Mouth, 2004, an anthology of poems handed down from all over the world.
REI BERROA was born in the Dominican Republic in 1949. He is the author of Book of Fragments (Calcutta, India, 1992), Libro de los fragmentos (Buenos Aires, 1989), Los otros (Santo Domingo, 1983), En el reino de la ausencia and Retazos para un traje de tierra (Madrid, 1979), Ideología y retórica (Mexico, 1988), and co-author of Literature of the Americas (Dubuque, 1986). In 1988, he edited the special issue on Dominican literature for the University of Pittsburgh's Revista Iberoamericana and an issue on Spanish poet León Felipe for Mexico's Cuadernos Americanos. Many publications in Europe, the US, and throughout Latin America have featured his poetry. For the last ten years he has been faculty advisor to the GMU student literary journal Hispanic Culture Review. He is the Literary Advisor to Teatro de la Luna, where he helps organize the annual Poetry Marathon. He has taught Spanish literature at George Mason University since 1984.
GRACE NICHOLS was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1950 and grew up in a small country village on the Guyanese coast. She moved to the city with her family when she was eight, an experience central to her first novel, Whole of a Morning Sky, 1986, set in 1960s Guyana in the middle of the country's struggle for independence.
She worked as a teacher and journalist and, as part of a Diploma in Communications at the University of Guyana, spent time in some of the most remote areas of Guyana, a period that influenced her writings and initiated a strong interest in Guyanese folk tales, Amerindian myths and the South American civilizations of the Aztec and Inca. She has lived in the UK since 1977. Her first poetry collection, I is a Long-Memoried Woman, was published in 1983. The book won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and a subsequent film adaptation of the book was awarded a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. The book was also dramatised for radio by the BBC. Subsequent poetry collections include The Fat Black Woman's Poems, 1984; Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman, 1989; and Sunris, 1996. She also writes books for children, inspired predominantly by Guyanese folklore and Amerindian legends, including Come on into My Tropical Garden, 1988 and Give Yourself a Hug, 1994. Her most recent book is Everybody Got A Gift, 2005 - which includes new and selected poems. Grace Nichols has received several prizes and awards such as: Commonwealth Poetry Prize, 1983; Arts Council Writers' Award, 1986; Guyana Poetry Prize, 1996; Cholmondeley Award, 2000.
FERNANDO RENDÓN was born in Medellín in 1951. Poet, essayist, editor and journalist. Cofounder of the poetry magazine Clave de Sol in 1972. Founder of the poetry magazine Imago in 1988. Founder and Director of the poetry magazine Prometeo since 1982, with 72 issues up to the moment. Founder and Director of The International Poetry Festival of Medellin which has carried out twenty editions of the event since 1991. He has published the poetry books Contrahistoria, 1986; Bajo otros soles, 1989; Canción en los campos de Marte, 1992; Los motivos del salmón, 1998; and La cuestión radiante, 2005. His poems have been included in poetry publications in France, Germany, Sweden, Luxembourg, Serbia, Hungary, Angola, United States, México, Haití, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. He has participated in international poetry encounters in Berlin Paris, Nantes, Rosario, Mondorf, Viena, Florence and Valencia, Venezuela. In 2002 he was appointed as editor of the Colombian poetry web page of Poetry International Rotterdam. He has directed and produced 17 documentaries in DV Cam format that make up a TV series entitled Tiempo de Poesía which is an audiovisual anthology of the participant poets in The International Poetry Festival of Medellin.
PIEDAD BONNETT was born in Amalfi, Antioquia, Colombia, in 1951. Since she was 8 she moved to Bogotá. She is a graduate in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Los Andes, where she is Literature teacher in the faculty of Arts and Humanities since 1981. For her first book De círculo y Ceniza, 1989 she received mention of honor in the Spanish American Poetry Contest Octavio Paz. In 1991 premiered the play Gato por Liebre. In 1994 she published Nadie en Casa, her second poetry book. In that same year she obtained the National Prize of Poetry Colcultura with her book El hilo de los días, published in 1995. In 1996, with Ese animal triste, she consolidated as one of the most representative voices in the contemporary Colombian poetry. In 1997 at the Teatro Libre she presented her second play named: Qué muerde el aire afuera under the direction of Ricardo Camacho. In 1998 she published a personal anthology of her poetry entitled No es más que la vida and the book of love poems Todos los amantes son guerreros.
UMBERTO SENEGAL (Calarcá, Quindío, Colombia, 1951). He is a poet, short story writer, essayist, teacher and Publisher. Books of poetry: Pundarika (Zen poetry, 1981; Window to Nirvana, 1986; I Left Flowers in the Dream, 1994; Anthology of Latin American Haiku, 1993; White on White, 2008; Sunyata, 2009. Short fiction: Wretched be the Meek, 1977; Atomic Tales, 2006; Miniature Stories, 2006; Short Short Stories, 2006; Haiku Stories, 2006; Stories for a Dwarf; Visitors, 2009. Essays: Papers and Reasons, 1989; Cavafi’s Ithaca, 2009. Several of his short short stories were included in the anthologies, Please be Brief 2, 2009; Invisible Retinues, 2008; Anthology of Colombian Short Short Stories, 2004, and Second Anthology of Colombian Short Short Stories, 2007. He is founder and president of the Colombian Association of Haiku; Coordinator of the Miguel Castillo Didider Byzantine and Neo-Hellenic Study Center; co-director of the Lauro Zavala Research and Spread Center of Short Stories; vice-president of the Pundarika Foundation; and literary adviser and coordinator of Cuadernos Negros Editorial, Calarcá, Quindío. He has been awarded in Quindío several gold medals for literary merit; has published and been editor of several literary magazines and journals, among them the art and literature review Kanora; has been a winner of regional prizes of short stories and poetry; and has coordinated literary workshops in and out of Quindío.
ESTEBAN MOORE was born in Argentina in 1952. Poet, translator and journalist. In poetry he has published: La noche en llamas, 1982; Providencia terrenal, 1983; Con Bogey en Casablanca, 1987; Poemas 1982-1987, 1988; Tiempos que van, 1994; Instantáneas de fin de siglo, 1999; Partes Mínimas y otros poemas, 1999. He has translated Charles Bukowsky, Raymond Carver, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, Bill Berkson, Anne Waldman, Andrei Codrescu, Seamus Heaney among others, In 1990 he was invited to The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, founded by Allen Ginsberg, where he carried out a translation project. In 1994 he exposed about poetry and translation in the Poetry School of Vienna, Schüle fur Dichtung in Wien. He has participated of various festivals in his country as well as in those of Montevideo (1993), Medellín (1995) and in 1998 he was invited by Amiri Baraka to take part in the homage committee to Allen Ginsberg that carried out an encounter in New York, in which he participated. He collaborates with publications of his country and abroad. His work has been partially translated into English, Italian, German and Portuguese and included in several anthologies. At the present time he prepares an anthology of contemporary Irish poetry.
CONSUELO HERNÁNDEZ was born in Colombia and is the author of four poetry collections of poetry: Poems from Debris and Ashes / Poemas de escombros y cenizas, 2006; Voces de la soledad, 1982; Solo de violín. Poemario para músicos y pintores, 1997 and Manual de peregrina, 2003. She was finalist in the International Poetry Contest "Ciudad Melilla" in Spain; and "Concurso Letras de Oro," University of Miami. Her poetry received a distinction from the Salvadorian Consulate of New York, and she was the first author in Spanish Language to be included in the Library's Special Collection at American University. Included in numerous anthologies, Hernández has been invited to poetry readings in USA, Latin America, Europe, and by organizations such as: The International Poetry Festival in Medellin, Encuentro Internacional de Poesia en El Salvador, The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Fundación Pablo Neruda in Chile. Presently she is an Associate professor at American University in Washington DC.
VERÓNICA ZONDEK was born in Santiago de Chile in 1953. She now lives in the city of Valdivia, Chile. A poet, Reader and Translator, Veronica majored in History of Art by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She belongs to the editorial committee of LOM editions and several magazines. She has participated in several literary gatherings, good and bad, here and there, but she has also organized several of the good ones. She has been jury in contests such as the Consejo del Libro, Fondart, Marta Brunet, Chilectra and Santibán, and has been granted twice the scholarship by the Fondo del Libro para Escribir. In 2007 she received the Fondart Scholarship. Her works have been published in several poetry anthologies and national and international literary magazines. Her poems have worked with other artistic expressions: theater, art expositions, music, engraved illustrations, photography, etc. Her poetry books are: Entrecielo y entrelínea, 1984; La sombra tras el muro, 1985; El hueso de la memoria, 1988; Vagido, 1990; Peregrina de mí, 1993; Membranza, 1995; Entre lagartas, 1999; El libro de los valles, 2003; Por gracia de hombre, 2008.
OBEDIAH MICHAEL SMITH was born in New Providence, Bahamas, in 1954. He has published twelve books of poems. At University of Miami and University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados, he participated in writers workshops with Lorna Goodison, Earl Lovelace, Grace Nichols, Merle Collins, and Mervyn Morris. He attended Memphis State University, 1973 to 1976. He has a Bachelors Degree in Dramatics and Speech from Fisk University. He taught English Language and Literature in high schools in The Bahamas, 1978 to 1989. He was The Bahamas Writers Summers Institute, poetry workshop instructor, June 29 to July 31, 2009.
LEÓN GIL was born in Venecia, Antioquia, Colombia, in 1954. He studied physics at the Universidad de Antioquia and has written three books of poems. Particularly notable is his first book of poems Del huerto de Van Gogh (“From Van Gogh’s Orchard”) in which he writes nocturnes, epitaphs, acrostics and also S.O.S. messages and grafitti. In this book, a beautiful map of the internal geography of the Dutch painter, Gil seizes his voice and expresses the enthralling vital experience of the painter in almost conversational poems. The poems embody a life full of deprivation and obsessions; it is an innovative book that takes us close to an artist who survived on the edge of insanity and sanity in an interesting historical period. Other of his poetry books are: Ecce Infans, 1996; and Coctel de versos para la mesa 3, 2002. He is a polyphonic poet who experiments with language but in a clear and direct style charged with irony. His sharply perceptive humour tends to take the reader by surprise and he never abuses metaphor. The poems are capsules of grace and intelligence that strike the reader by exposing the theater of the world without descending to the pathos we are used to in a culture of lachrymose and ambiguous morality. In his second book, Ecce Infans, the poet returns to the context of childhood and in short poems, children talk with their fresh and free language about the stains in the world of adults. It is a book that has the power to reveal the greatness of children’s minds and takes us into a luminous region.
QUITO NICOLAAS was born in San Nicolas, Aruba and left at the age of 17 years for The Netherlands. He studied Political science and Law at the University of Amsterdam and University of Leiden. At the age of twelve he began writing poems. In 1990 he published his first volume of poems, Eclips Politico. He started out writing in his mother-tongue Papiamento, while later on to write in Spanish, Dutch and English. As a writer/poet he wrote several shortstories, novels and essays.
Besides being a publicist, he is also a book reviewer first for the weekly magazine Contrast and presently for the Caribe Magazine. For the weekly NPS radio-program Tambu its rubric 'Un Palabra Kla'he wrote a column based upon an historical-antropological theme regarding Aruba. The themes dealt with in his poetry usually are the individual, nature and politics. In general his poems in recent years, are a reflection of the life between two cultures, their environment, dilemma's and experience of emigrants in the Dutch society. Publications: Eclips Politico (Political Eclips), 1990; Illusion Optico (Optical Illusion), 1995; Destino (Destiny) 2000; Gerede Twijfels (Reasonable Doubt) 2002; Tera di Silencio (Country of Silence), 2004; Atardi di Antaño (The afthernoon in the past), 2005; Alameda, 2008; Verborgen leegte (forthcomming novel in 2010).
TARSICIO VALENCIA (San Andrés de Cuerquia, Antioquia, Colombia, 1955). BA in Philosophy and Literature, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana La Playa School, where he has worked for more than twenty years. In his research paper, The Poetic of the New World in the Chronicles of the Indies, he synthesizes his reading in the Archivo de Indias of the Spanish American Baroque language, teaching us to interpret the chronicles as a genre close to the real maravilloso of our lyric poetry. He has written Juan Rulfo, Photographer —where he gathers the silent vortices of the images in the lens of the Mexican master— and as a co-author of Portrait of José Lezama Lima and Fernando Vallejo, Condition and Figure, he has promoted the study of poetics and the sciences of language in the city. He has published the books of poetry Herido árbol; The Garden of the Rose; Future Sea; and the lyrical essays, Treatise of Angels and A Star by the Moon, are characteristic of the poetic maturity with which he unwinds the symbols he finds on his way to give us a song of love longing for the creative mystery. For four years he has worked with the students of Philosophy and Literature in the Open Class of Poetry “Déxima Musa.”
MARCO MEJÍA (Caldas, Antioquia, Colombia). Philosopher and investigative and cultural journalist. He has published The Fragrance of Identity; Horn of Image; The Cemetery dissidents and The Sea of Grace. Contributor of essays, short stories and poems to the literary magazine of the newspapers El Colombiano, El Mundo and El Espectador; as well as to the reviews Signs in the Bonfire (of which he was also a founder), Writings (UPB) and Cieloroto. He directed the documentary series The House, produced by Comfenalco and Mincultura, and took part in the production of the short films Cierraojos, 1981; Prayer to Frighten Fear, 1982; The Carrier of Men, 1983, and The Cutwater and the Lily of the Incas, 1984. First Poetry Prize of the Antioqueña Teaching Profession, 1988; second poetry prize of the Medellín municipality, 1922; Gold Pen Medal, 1933; Ciro Mendía Poetry Prize, 1994, and first prize in the Latin American Essay Prize René Uribe Ferrer, 1996. He is now Coordinator of Cultural Promotion and Spread of the Caja de Compensación Familiar Comfenalco, Antioquia.
GABRIEL JAIME FRANCO was born in Medellin in 1956. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the review Prometeo and of the Managing Committee of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín. He has published six books of poems: En la ruta del día, 1989; La tierra de la sal, 1993; Reaprendizaje del alfabeto, 1996; Las voces escindidas, 1998; La tierra memorable, 2006; Diario del incierto, 2008. Always intense, his first poems were the poems of a young man trying to find a place in the world – profound and sorrowful prose poems expressing a boundless solitude. He was trying to define himself, while we all were just detached companions, but our generation saw itself in that vertiginous prose where little by little his childhood and the omnipresence of God appeared. They were a God – a word that for him should always be written with a capital letter, like a menacing eye – that he condemned and a childhood to which he did not want to return. But through the sadness of his poetry gradually arose, sharply clear, the loving look at the other, at the war that even God could not stop, at the maimed children, the insanity, the rivers of blood, the country – slowly abandoning his own circumstances to embrace others, to ask himself the anguished question of how and where to find our voice.
RENATO SANDOVAL (Lima, Peru, 1957). A poet, fiction writer, essayist and translator, he is a Doctor of Philosophy in Romance Philology of the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has published the books of poems, Courses, 1985; Perches, 1992; Slope Lights, 1993; Nostos, 1996; Linhard og Ringhof, 2000, Nostos / The Reverse and Flight, 2000; Editorial 1000, 2003; Suzuki Blues, 2006. Essays: The Observer of Fire. Agony and Death of Eguren, 1989, and Pytyx: Eielson in the Snail, 1994. His poetry —partially translated into French, Italian, Finnish and Danish— has been included in several anthologies such as Peruvian Poetry XX Century, 1999; Findings in the Mirror. Poets for the Land, 2000; and Stone Flow: Twenty Peruvian Poets, 2005. He was first place in the 1000 Thousand Short Story contest of the review Caretas in 1998. As a short story writer he has been included in the anthologies 13 años de los mejores cuentos de 1000 palabras, 1995, y Recent Short Story Writers born between 1950-1965, 1997. His translations of Pavese, Quasimodo, Tabucchi, Arnaut Daniel, Tieck, Rilke, Kafka, Södergran, Ǻgren, Haavikko, Saarikoski, Dinesen, Boberg, Drummond de Andrade and Sylvia Plath, are well known, as well as those of a couple of plays written in French by César Vallejo and anthology of short stories from Quebec (Canada) with the title The Hand of God. He is editor of the publishing house Raven Nest and of the reviews Evohé and Fórnix. He is professor of German, Nordic and French Medieval literature, and he’s host of the Poetry Workshop of the Literature Department.
ALBERTO VÉLEZ was born in Medellin in 1957. He has published the poetry books: Para olvidar de memoria (Premio Nacional de Poesía Universidad de Antioquia, 1982); Habida palabra (Premio Plural de Poesía, México, 1987) and Voces de Baguí, 2004.
ÁNGELA GARCÍA was born in Medellín, in 1957. She read Communication Studies. A co-founder of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín, she was its executive director and a member of editorial board of the Prometeo review until 1999. She has published five books of poetry, three of them bilingual into German, Swedish and Serbian, and numerous poems in anthologies, reviews and newspapers of several Latin American and European countries. Her poems have been translated into German, Swedish, French, Galician, Portuguese, Italian, Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian. She co-directed the video La orilla opuesta (The farther shore). She produces poetry events for the International Poetry Days in Malmö, Sweden.
Colombian poetry written by women has suffered from an excess of whimpering and sentimentality, or from an empty and repetitive bedroom eroticism. Ángela García’s poetry is happily free from both of these regrettable features. To begin with, her verbal economy is outstanding; in many cases she even does without defining adjectives and articles. But her search of precision does not affect the musical quality of her verses. This will to condense and leave out the debris is a method which sometimes may imply certain problems of comprehension for the reader: I am harassed /by the name without equivalent / the advancement / ignored language / initiation chamber / name without phoneme / sign / like sun or blackness / without resemblance.
GUSTAVO GARCÉS was born in Medellin, in 1957. He is a lawyer with a master’s degree in political studies and has been a professor of literature and political science in several universities, and works in the National Solicitors office of Human Rights and Ethnic Matters. One of the most original of Colombian contemporary poets, he has published five books of remarkably condensed and deliciously ironic poems — quite opposed to the Spanish-American rhetorical tradition— the second of which, Breves días (Brief Days) was awarded the important Colombian Institute of Culture National Poetry Prize in 1992. The most visible feature of Garcés’ poetry — akin to the poetry of William Carlos Williams and his Colombian translator José Manuel Arango, to Japanese tankas and haiku, and Chinese poetry— is the exactness and peculiar transcendence of his poems. The reader is forced to go back to them, or rather is drawn into them: Garcés’ poems are like tiny doors which open to wide avenues; they have incredible powers of suggestion. Re-reading them, one finds proof of their peculiar poetic efficacy; behind their deceptively simple surface, there is a great deal of work, a vigilant observation of the world and of people. The poet captures or evokes the fleeting instant, or the essence of a person, or an action. The poems are ample windows to reality. His own feelings, subtly stated, are viewed with tenderness or irony, and humor, always humor.
JOSÉ LIBARDO PORRAS was born in Támesis, Antioquia, Colombia, in 1959. He studied Spanish and Literature at the University of Antioquia. Narrative works: Es tarde en San Bernardo, 1984; Seis historias de amor, todas edificantes, 1996 (Winner of the Literary Contest of the Cámara de Comercio de Medellín); Hijos de la nieve, 2000; Historias de la cárcel Bellavista (National Prize of Literature), 2004; Happy birthday, capo, 2008. Poetry books: Partes de guerra, 1987; El continente sumergido, 1990; Hijo de la ciudad, 1994.
VILMA TAPIA ANAYA (La Paz, Bolivia, 1960). She is a poet, publisher, essayist and host of literary workshops. She has worked in the fields of education, journalism and sustainable development. She has published the books of poetry, On desire and the Rose, 1992; Hearts of Stubborn Resentment, 1995; Oh Seasons, oh Castles, 1999; Fireflies in the Background, 2003; My Wedding Party, 2006; and The Nearest Water, 2008. Some concepts about her work are: “The rupture represented by her poetry seems to show a transformation in her aimed at opening and developing an active interior life in which she, free from the masculine domination, can create from her feminine experience.” (Blanca Wiethüchter). “Sensuality, plenitude, eroticism soak her poems, being a celebration and an exaltation of love. The body becomes an instrument of knowledge, the surrender is mutual, the loving word opens, peoples, discovers the feminine body, final learns and apprehends her body the other’s body” (Giancarla de Quiroga). “In the geography she offers us we perceive the becoming of the hymn of the body, of bodies, but also the longing for the ethereal, luminous and winged, imaginary body, the body of dreams. // But the exceptional thing is that these bodies are only one: The body of the poet extending, expanding, multiplying itself. The other is the reflection of herself” (Gary Daher Canedo).
JAIRO GUZMÁN was born in Medellin in 1961. He studied Mathematics at the National University of Colombia in his hometown. He has published books entitled Coro de ahorcados (“Choir of hanged men”) and Todo paisaje es la elegancia del ojo (“Every landscape is the eye’s elegance”), and his poems have been published in many Colombian and foreign reviews and on various websites. In 1995 he was invited to China by the local Society of Authors, and he has appeared at international poetry events in Helsinki, Curitiba (Brazil), and Quito (Ecuador). He currently publishes his work on a website. Since he published Coro de ahorcados, his first book of poems, Jairo Guzmán has continued his inquiry into the basic human sense of intuition, the cypher of living things. That said, the source of the subterranean world of his poetry is actually something else — music, a sonorous river running through his verse.
Guzmán is unusual, both as a poet and in his form of expression. “Poems travel through the umbilical cord,” he offers up frankly, observing that the navel is the origin of poetry: “everything enters through it.” This is the reason he called his website, “the navel of the fish.” As he claims, “I learned everything through the navel, when I was in the womb.” Guzmán writes poetry from a sense of this prenatal stage of existence and developed his early voice through images, verses, personal experiences, all of them connected in his proteic imagination. He speaks from the navel, which he considers the seat of his conscience.
HÉCTOR FAGOT (Fredonia, Antioquia, Colombia, 1961). Took part in the writers’ workshop Fernando González, hosted by Manuel Mejía Vallejo in Otraparte, Envigado. In 2001, he published the book Internal Affairs. According to Víctor Bustamante: “Héctor Fagot expresses the radioactive power of his personal experiences, recovers the music of bygone days but without any nostalgia, but with the nitric acid of what is left from the stale leftovers of those instants. Fagot’s poetry is based on his experience: He thinks, like Pavese, that to write it is necessary that his word has passed through his body.”
GABRIEL ARTURO CASTRO (Bogotá, 1962). He is a poet, essayist and Social anthropologist from the Universidad Nacional, reviewer of books of anthropology, literature and education, art workshop host. He was a contributor to the “Magazine Dominical” of El Espectador for the Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico of the Bank of the Republic and for other national important publications. Winner of the national prizes Aurelio Arturo, 1990 and Ciro Mendía, 2006. Books of poetry: Book of Alchemy and Solitude, 1992; Alchemy of the Half Moon, 1996; After the Verses of Job, 2009 (Porfirio Barba Jacob National Poetry Prize). In this last book, he suggests to the reader a poetic search of the exhausting and long tragedy of Job which is that of all men marked by a history of mutual aggression, but at the same time, as one goes deeper into the arduous prairie of suffering, offers diamonds of pensive rest for those who, like no doubt so many brave readers and living beings, decline to accept as a final result the assault of death wielding its black mirrors everywhere to placate with its old siren song, once and for all, the moaners who do not dare raise their voice like the poet.
CLAUDIA TRUJILLO (Medellín, Colombia, 1963). She is a poet, essayist architect from the National University of Colombia, Medellín. Co-founder and co-publisher of the poetry reviews Gyrfalcon, Digital Whispers and Poetics. President and co-founder of the poetry house Porfirio Barba Jacob in Medellín. Her poems have been published in the art and literature reviews, Imago, Puesto de Combate, Revista de la Universidad de Antioquia, Susurros, Punto Seguido, Poética and Quitasol, among others. She has published the books of poems: The Sacred Days, 2003 and Foreigner, XIV National Poetry Prize Museo Rayo, Valle, 2004. Included in the Encyclopedia of Classic and Contemporary Antioqueño Literature in multimedia, published by the IDEA and the Governorship of Antioquia in Medellín. Finalist in the First National Carlos A. Trejos Poetry Prize; Río Sucio, Caldas, 2002.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL LÓPEZ (VITO APÜSHANA), was born in La Guajira, Colombia, in 1965.A poet of the Wayuu Nation in northern Colombia, he did not go to college. Rather, he dedicated his life and his poetry to the discovery of his roots and the search for a dialogue between the rich Amerindian tradition and modern society. He has published four books of poems, and in 2000 was awarded the Latin American literary prize Casa de las Américas for his book Encuentros en los senderos de Abya Yala. In 2002, he was awarded a scholarship to live some months in Mexico, where he wrote the yet unpublished book I Bring Water from the Tezcoco Lake. Vito Apüshana left his native land when he was thirteen to study in Medellín. Although people he knew insisted that he stay in the city, he decided to return to his native land ten years later.
In his prizewinning book, Encuentros en los senderos de Abya Yala, he writes: I speak from the recognition of the Amerindian face, / from the indigenous world of America (Abya Yala) . . ./ Here is my song and in my hands the diverse dream, / the intense voice of ancient times, here in my steps is the sweat / of reaffirmation, the throbbing of the defined root, /the look at the serene horizon, / the invitation to multiply encounters / and to increase mutual respect wherever human life breathes...
MAYRA SANTOS FEBRES (born 1966) is a Puerto Rican professor of literature, poet, novelist, and critic who has garnered fame at home and abroad. One of her most famous books is Sirena Selena (Selena the Siren), in which she describes the life of a teenaged homosexual male who works in the streets and has talent in singing. Her work has been translated into French, English, German, and Italian, and is presented in many universities in the United States by college teachers.
Santos-Febres is currently having her first television experience, participating as a poet in a tv show named Grado Zero in Puerto Rico. She also announced plans to write a novel about infamous Ponce, Puerto Rico native Isabel la Negra. She has published the poetry books: Anamú y manigua, 1991; El orden escapado, 1991; Mal(h)ablar: Antología de nueva literatura puertorriqueña, 1997 y Tercer Mundo, 1999.
JUAN DIEGO TAMAYO was born in Medellin, Colombia, in 1968. After graduating in Linguistics and Literature at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, where he was born, Tamayo went on to study for a Masters in Philology at the Instituto de la Lengua Española in Madrid, Spain. He has published a poetry collection entitled Los elementos perdidos (“The Lost Elements”), and has written four other (unpublished) books. He is a co-founder of the International Poetry Festival of Medellín. Several poetry reviews have published his oracular poems, and he has been invited to a handful of international poetry festivals. He also leads poetry and poetry appreciation workshops. Ever since his poems were first featured in Medellín reviews,
His first poems, written between 1986 and 1998 and collected in Los elementos perdidos, demonstrate a method of expression based on the image, open to sudden flights of fantasy. His poetry speaks of what is not obvious, it reveals prayer’s underlying dialogue; these are songs that redeem us from our daily disarray. Typical of his first book are two poems that confirm this: ‘Invocation’ and ‘Lord of Lightning’. In the first one we see his talent for the poetic image: Lost in amazement / I bow / before the image and in the poem ‘Lord of Lightning’ the poet extends his gaze towards the infinite; he feels the universe throbbing: Oh!, Old Lord who pursue / the stirring rhythm of the woods / announcing the fear of prayer / where every silence is truth / and sustained delirium.
BERENICE PINEDA was born in Bello, Antioquia, Colombia, in 1969. She is studying Education in the area of Spanish and Humanities, in the University of Antioquia. She has published her poems in several publications and is cofounder of the magazine of art, literature and poetry, Quitasol. She attended the encounter of women Colombian poes, in Roldanillo, Valle, 2009. Actually, she is teacher of Spanish language.
OPHIR ALVIÁREZ was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1970. Her works have been included in the following publications: Anthology of Narrative Poetry and of the Casildense Association de Escritores, ( Argentina, 2003); Scalene the triangle (Merida, 2004). V Anthology the International Sensitivities and in the Gold Anthology of Sensitivities ( Madrid 2005 ). Anthology of Poetry and in the I Anthology of Narrative of the Association of Writers of Merida (Coedición with COGNAC, 2005).
FRANCESCA RANDAZZO (Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 1973). She studied Languages, Psychology and Sociology. She has published the books of poems: Rubbing of Earth, 1997; At Open Sea, 2000; and Compass of Light, 2002. In 2001, she obtained the Roberto Sosa Young Poetry Prize. She now works as a translator and professor of French, English, Italian and Spanish. Helena Ramos has asserted that she “…abstains from loving passionate suffering, rejects renunciation, demolishes the myth that women are born to die of love and that we enjoy our sorrows, all of this with images, not with proclamations. She also questions the masculinity of the lover, that mythicised, magnified, invulnerable and rational masculinity: ‘A nest of answers / widens your breast / I try to find in them / the answer.’ She even questions the very dynamics of a love relationship not presented any longer as the height of happiness but as a painful, sometimes ineffective adjustment: “…he who insists I don’t understand / what arm I must cut / to fit into your front.” And another discovery even more anguishing: “…to be together / is not the contrary of being alone.” All of these bitter revelations have nothing to do with the rejection of affection, because in other of her poems there flourish brief loving exaltations, created with verbal economy and framed in landscapes of deep anxiety.
WALTHER ESPINAL was born in Medellín in 1980. He study Philosophy and Literature at the University of Antioquia. He has attended several literary workshops in his city. Poetry books: La danza de Narciso, 2009; El pirata y otros poemas, 2010. He belongs to the literary group named Satélite and coordinates the literary page in internet: La mochila filosófica.
ANDREA COTE was born in Barrancabermeja, Santander, in 1981. She is a poet and college professor and she has been collaborator of The Internacional Poetry Festival of Medellín. She has published the books: Puerto Calcinado (Poems, 2003); Blanca Varela y la escritura de la soledad (Essay, 2004); Una fotógrafa al desnudo (Biography of Tina Modotti, 2005). In 2002, she received the national young poetry prize of The University Externado de Colombia and in 2005 she received the World Poetry prize of Young Poetry “Bridges of Struga”, awarded by UNESCO and The Poetry festival of Macedonia. Her book Puerto Calcinado has been partially translated into English, French, Italian, Macedonian, Arabic and Catalanian. As Piedad Bonnett says: “Andrea Cote is nowadays one of the most important young voices of our poetry. Her work recreates, in an ambiguous language, full of meaning, a very personal world, of an intimate tendency, full of recurrent feelings that point out the urgency of its phantoms, the need to transform the experience in the word”. Moreover, in the words of Juan Manuel Roca “Her poems, attentive to the passing by of a rough time, reveal an impulse for not concealing neither tragedy nor oblivion in which it wraps our individual and collective drama. It is hers a reflective poetry that seeks the expresión of a calcinated landscape in fair images, in diverse rythms”.
POETS OF ASIA
U SAM OEUR was born in Cambodia in 1936 and grew up in a farming family. After studying in the US, he served in the Cambodian government, becoming part of the Cambodian delegation to the UN. When Pol Pot assumed power in 1975, Oeur, along with his wife and son, survived the killing fields while feigning illiteracy in six forced-labor camps. A devout Buddhist, Oeur now lives in Texas. Books published: Sacred Vows, 1998 and Crossing the Wilderness, 2005.
Sam Oeur emerged from the experience with his hope for peace, freedom, and the power of literature unshaken. As Oeur relates his attempts to serve his native land in a time of terrible crisis, he creates a stirring portrait of the people, the myths, and the traditions of this beautiful, complex country.
GEMINO H. ABAD was born in Philippines in 1939. University Professor emeritus of literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines, he is a poet, fictionist, and literary critic and historian, with various honors and awards, the most recent being the Premio Feronia of Italy in 2009 for selected poems from his In Ordinary Time: Poems, Parables, Poetics, 2004, which were translated into Italian by Gëzim Hajdari and Amoà Fatuiva under the title, Dove le parole non si spezzano. He has a thirty-four books to his name: Care of Light (2009) is his eighth poetry collection, and Our Scene So Fair: Filipino Poetry in English, 1905 to 1955 (2008), his seventh collection of critical essays; he also has two collections of short stories, Orion’s Belt, 1996, and A Makeshift Sun, 2001. Known also for his three-volume historical anthology of Filipino poetry in English: Man of Earth, 1989; A Native Clearing, 1993, and A Habit of Shores, 1999, he is currently undertaking the last two-volume set of a six-volume historical anthology of Filipino short stories in English from 1956 to 2008: the first two-volume set, Upon Our Own Ground (stories over the period 1956 to 1972), came out in 2008; the second set, Underground Spirit (over the period 1973-1989), is in press. He continues to teach at his University where he has served as Secretary of the University, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the U.P. Creative Writing Institute.
IMTIAZ DHARKER was born in Pakistan in 1950. She has five books of poems and drawings, Purdah (Oxford University Press); Postcards from god (Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK); I speak for the devil (Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK); The terrorist at my table (Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK) and her most recent collection, Leaving Fingerprints (Bloodaxe Books UK). An award-winning artist and documentary film maker, she has had ten solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. She is a poet on the UK syllabus and performs every year at Poetry Live events, across Britain and abroad, to over 100,000 students. Her poems have been widely broadcast on BBC World Service, Radio 2, 3 and 4 as well as television. Brought up in Glasgow, Scotland, she spent many years in India and now lives between Bombay/Mumbai and London.
HALA MOHAMMAD was born in the Syrian port of Latakia. She grew up in a liberal household, studied film in France at the University of Paris VIII and went on to work as a costume designer in three Syrian films (tr: »The Night«, »The Zograscope«, »Under the Roof«). She also wrote scripts and worked as Assistant Director. She directed several documentaries (including »When Qasiyun Grows Tired«, 2006).
Since 1994 Hala Mohammad has been active as a poet. Five collections of her poetry have been published to date: The Soul Has No Memory, 1994; Over That Mild White, 1998; A Little Life, 2001; This Fear, 2004 and As If I Knocked On My Door, 2008. The prose poet belongs to a new generation of modern Arabic women poets, who express their individual experiences as women and intellectuals in the Arab world. What gives Hala Mohammad's poetry its unique character is its spontaneity. Instead of complex reflections there are ideas which flicker momentarily into life: colours, sense impressions, smells and movements are evoked and connected to the manifold and recurring themes which flow through Mohammad's poetry like leitmotifs. These include memory, which also plays an important role in her fimic work, emotions like fear, alienation and loneliness, as well as a profound sense of grief and having lost one’s way: »On this morning / light broke without mercy / with clear eyes / I saw / my solitude« (from: »The Soul Has No Memory«). The presence of the »other«, manifest even in his absence, bound to the narrator in love, can always be felt. In her poetry Mohammad rejects complex syntax, relying instead on simple expressions. Modern Arabic dominates, but is free of dialect.
AK WELSAPAR was born on 19th September 1956 in the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan. He received his Masters degree in Journalism from the Moscow State University of M.Lomonosov in 1979 and his Masters in Literary theory from the Moscow Literature Institute of M.Gorkiy in 1989. Ak writes in Russian, Turkmen and in Swedish. He became a member of the Soviet Writers’ Association in 1987. However, on 25th of August 1993 Ak was excluded from the Writers’ Association after publishing investigative articles about major ecological problems in Turkmenistan. Ak wrote many critical articles about the enormous ecological problems that he had exposed in Central Asia – the shockingly high rates of infant and maternal death and the reason behind these awful statistics – overuse of chemicals and pesticides in agriculture. The overuse was caused by the monoculture of cotton – which required enormous amounts of chemical fertilizers, defoliant butifos (a substance similar to Agent Orange) and pesticides. Cotton monoculture in Central Asia, which was ordered by the Soviet regime to cover the cotton needs of all Soviet Union, led to deep-seated ecological problems in the whole region, problems that rapidly turned into global ecological disasters, the most noticeable of which is the subsequent drying-out of the Aral Sea.
His poetic works are: Which of us will dive deepest?, 1982; The first drop, 1983; The Round House, 1996; Longing for Another Sky, 2005; If I Only Were a White Bird!, a book for children, 2006. He has published the following novels: The Melon Head, 1984, was awarded a prize in a Turkmen national literature-competition; A Long Journey to Nearby, 1988; This Darkness Is Brighter, 1989, banned in Turkmenistan; The Bent Sword Hanging on the Old Carpet, 1990; The legend of Aypi, 1990; Mulli Tahir, 1992, banned by the Turkmen censor; The Revenge of the Foxes, 1993 and The Cobra, 2003. He also published The salty twilight, Short stories, 2000. Essays: The white dragon's path, a publicistic book about environmental degradation in Central Asia, 1994; The ones vanishing in the daylight, 2009. Ak Welsapar is still a proscribed writer in Turkmenistan and his name has topped the list of black-listed writers since 1993.
INDRAN AMIRTHANAYAGAM was born in Sri Lanka in 1960. He is a poet, essayist and translator in English, Spanish and French. His first book The Elephants of Reckoning won the 1994 Paterson Prize in the United States. His poem Juarez won the Juegos Florales of Guaymas, Mexico in 2006. Amirthanayagam has written five books thus far: The Splintered Face Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press, March 2008), Ceylon R.I.P. (The International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2001), El Hombre Que Recoge Nidos (Resistencia/CONARTE, Mexico, 2005) El Infierno de los Pájaros (Resistencia, Mexico, 2001), The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose Press, 1993).
Amirthanayagam's essays and op-eds have appeared in the Hindu, the New York Times, El Norte, Reforma, New York/Newsday, The Daily News, The Island, The Daily Mirror, Groundviews (Sri Lanka). He has played with Non Jazz at various concerts where his poems were set to music by Omar Tamez. He directed Mexico's first ever program dedicated to conversations with poets "Palabras En Vuelo: Poesia en Conversacion" which appeared on cable television in Northern Mexico in 2006. Amirthanayagam is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and a past recipient of an award from the US/Mexico Fund for Culture for his translations of Mexican poet Manuel Ulacia.
HADAA SENDOO was born on Mongolia in 1961. He is a poet and translator in Mongolia. His poems have been translated more than 30 languages and he has won the Poet of the Millennium Award, the Best Poet Prize, the Literature Achievement Award, the poetry Merit Award, He founded the most important World Poetry Almanac in 2006. He was considered a very great poet and one the most valuable poets of the world by some scholars. He was received the Creative Giant Award in India in 2008. He is winner of the Mongolian Writers Union Prize and World Poetry Ambassador medal 2009 in Canada. He presents as consulting editor of the review in a world renowned the International Literary Quarterly.
LOLA KOUNDAKJIAN was born in 1962. She is an Armenian living in NYC since 1979. The grandchild of four genocide survivors, she writes about her heritage, urban life and struggles of people worldwide. She has served on the editorial board of ARARAT, an Armenian-American Literary Quarterly for twelve years. She has freelanced for the Armenian Reporter, Armenian International Magazine andthe Armenian Weekly, all U.S. based newspapers. Lola’s poetry has appeared online on GROONG (University of Southern California), and in print in the Armenian Weekly (Boston, USA) and Pakin (Beirut, Lebanon). She has read her work on several stages in New York City and Los Angeles and frequently collaborates with GARTAL Armenian and the Greek-American reading series in New York City. After her Master’s degree from Columbia University, Lolahas presented academic papers at the Middle East Studies Association, Association Internationale des Etudes Arméniennesand the Society for Armenian Studiesconferences and has been published in conference proceedings in the U.S., Europe and Armenia. For the past 20 years, she has organized evenings dedicated to the Dead Armenian Poets’ Societyand since 2006 has produced and edited text and audio for the multi-lingual Armenian Poetry Project. Bibliography: Selected Poems, currently at pre-press; Armenian poems: Pakin, Beirut, Lebanon, September 2009. Works included in Cynthia Maris Dantzic’s 100 New York Calligraphers, Schiffer Books, New York, USA. English poems in the Armenian Weekly, 2006-present; Interview and pieces in Horizon Weekly, Montreal, Canada, to be published late 2009; Interviews in Azad-Hye, UAE, Horizon (Montreal), Armenian Mirror-Spectator (Boston, USA) and the Armenian Reporter (USA), 2006-present.
QUAMRUZZAMAN was born in Bangladesh in 1966. He has published, among others, the poem books Jharnar Kase Ak DIN, 1990; Amar Protibimber Protk, 1994; Mayabi Ovishar, 1998; Nirbachita Kabita, 2007 and Selected Poems, 2008. In the words of Mizanur Rahman, "... Quamruzzaman Swapan is a fervent exponent of both romanticism and realism. He’s been writing poetry since 1980, and has published three books that have been widely welcomed by both public and critics. Though his poetry he has attacked the modernism of Dhaka and the evils of modern society. It is regrettable that the poems written by modern Bangladeshi are mostly incomprehensible. The common reader cannot understand the meaning of some poems that are, apparently, always inscrutable. Most of those poets don’t even know what their writings mean. Maybe they’re expecting the critics to clarify their obscurity. Long foreign words are now introduced in Bangladeshi as symbols or metaphors that mean nothing. I have great confidence in Qumruzzaman because he limits himself to be concrete. In name of expressionism, surrealism sensualism, one does not have to use incomprehensible words in poetry in order to generate pedantic applause instead of making the poem be understood because of it’s well used rimes and reasons. Even analysts get confused in the complex background of modern poetry. But Quamruzzaman poems have the necessary qualities to convince the readers that their task is not going to be vain. He is the promising young poet of Bangladesh that will be able to reflect with a clear perspective the images of our time and our land in the different ways and tones of his poetry."
NATHALIE HANDAL is an award-winning poet, playwright, and writer born in 1969 in Haiti but her family is from Palestine and Lebanon. She has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, such as, Poetrywales, Ploughshares, Poetry New Zealand, Stand Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Perihelion, and The Literary Review; has been translated into more than fifteen languages and she has been featured on NPR, PBS Radio as well as The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, Mail & Guardian, The Jordan Times and Il Piccolo. She is the author of the poetry collections, The NeverField and The Lives of Rain (short-listed for The Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize/The Pitt Poetry Series and recipient of the Menada Award); the poetry CDs Traveling Rooms and Spell; the editor of The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology (an Academy of American Poets Bestseller and winner of the Pen Oakland/Josephine Miles Award); and co-editor along with Tina Chang and Ravi Shankar of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008). She has been involved either as a writer, director or producer in over twenty theatrical and/or film productions worldwide. She was a finalist for the 2009 A Room of Her Own's Freedom Award, and her forthcoming poetry book, Love and Strange Horses, will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
POETS OF EUROPE
JEAN CLARENCE LAMBERT (Paris, France, 1930) Poet, translator, essayist, art critic, cultural promoter and traveler in many cultures. Among his books of poems translated into Spanish one finds Jardines errantes (El Tucán de Virginia) and El reino imaginal (Poligrafía). Translator into French of the books by Octavio Paz: Libertad bajo palabra, Águila o sol, El laberinto de la soledad, A la orilla del mundo. “To translate poetry is one of the most complex and risky linguistic operations possible. To each language corresponds a particular organization of the historical experience. When we find ourselves before a particular order, as is the case of a poem, it is possible to copy the apparent structure of the text: for example, that of a sonnet. At present, when poems are open structures, a combination or occupation of the page is reproduced. In short, one can imitate the productive process, but what to do will all the rest? The word ‘freedom’, for example, has a different meaning for Paz and for André Breton. Each word has a phonic and graphic personality in its own language, beside the concepts it contains. If this were not enough, the poet charges it with emotional or subjective values that are added to the collective connotations. In every poem two languages are intertwined, the group’s and the poet’s, this last similar to a foreign language. Poetry is in itself a foreign language. There cannot be a perfect translation, capable of transmitting all the senses of the poem. The translator must commit a true affront, although every reading is really already a translation.”
LASSE SÖDERBERG was born in Sweden in 1931. He is a poet and translator from a variety of languages, was born in 1931 and eventually settled in Malmö where he started and for the last nineteen years has been the organizer and artistic leader of the International Poetry Days in Malmö. He has published — in addition to translations and non-fiction — more than twenty volumes of poetry.
His most recent collections are Stenarna i Jerusalem (2002) and Breven från Artur (2007). Among his recent volumes of translations is a selection of Gonzalo Rojas. Lasse Söderberg’s many prizes and awards for translations and his own work include Bellmanpriset (1996).
NANNI BALESTRINI was born in Milan, Italy, in 1935 and lives in Paris. He has been one of the principal editors of the literary magazine Il Verri and has contributed to many periodicals and journals. From 1966 to 1968 he edited, together with Alfredo Giuliani, the magazine Quindici. Balestrini’s poems were included in the celebrated anthology I Novissimi, 1961. One of the propelling forces of the Gruppo ’63, he has organized many conferences and exhibitions. His book publications include Il sasso appeso, 1961; Come si agisce, 1963; Tristano, 1966; Ma noi facciamone un’altra, 1968; Vogliamo tutto, 1971; La violenza illustrate, 1976; Le ballate della signorina Richmond, 1977; Ipocalisse, 1986; Il ritorno della Signorina Richmond, 1987; L’editore, 1989, and Il pubblico del labirinto, 1992.
JULES DEELDER is undoubtedly one of the Netherlands’ best-known poets. He owes much of his fame to public appearances, in which he combines a dandyish pose with a curious mixture of popular city humor and irony, dished up in an uncut Rotterdam accent. He is arguably the godfather of Dutch performance poets.
There is an unmistakable link between Deelder’s poetry and the Dutch ultra-realists of the 1950s, and an even stronger kinship with the carefree anarchism of the 1960s. Many of his poems are on an exciting collision course with established taste. Apparently, Jules Deelder has found the recipe for successfully combining a deadpan exterior and crass realism with the comic effect of irony. He calls himself a ‘neon realist’, a ‘neon romantic’ and a ‘neon comedian’. Deelder has a rare command of register, mimicking the language of soaps as effortlessly as that of military rhetoric or the quasi-profound verbiage of esoteric or antiquated cultures. He does this in his poetry as well as in his prose, which never fails to betray the poet.
Deelder’s work often tends toward cabaret, but was not cabaret the mainspring of a movement like Dadaism? With the Dadaists he shares a fondness for the absurd, born from a relentless defiance of established high art. He has thus made of himself a kind of enfant terrible of the Dutch poetic scene, but one that cannot be ignored. Several of his poems have achieved the status of ‘modern classic’, and if he is not one of the Netherlands’ most read poets, he certainly is one of the most heard.
ERLING KITTELSEN was born in Norway in 1946. He had his debut as a poet in 1970. He has since than published several poetry cycles and collections, as well as fables, dramatic works and translations of poetry.
He is known for his dialogues, partly with colleagues and partly in the work with the translation of poetry from distant languages in relation to the Nordic language area like Arabian, Persian, Korean, Lithuanian and Sumerian. He also has poetical dialogue with the most ancient poetical traditions in the Nordic Countries – the Old Norse Poetic Edda where at first he translates the old text and than presents a contemporary literary answer. Erling is known as a writer who renews language, a poet and storyteller. He is a writer who moves in untraditional ways, both with the language in his books and dramatic works and his literary activity through events and happenings. His last play has been translated and performed several times in the Middle East.
He has received several literary prices amongst them The Aschehoug Prize (awarded on a binding recommendation by the Norwegian Critics Organization) and The Dobloug Prize (awarded by the Swedish Academy).
VLADIMIR MARKU was born in Albania in 1950. He is a poet, novelist, essayist, translator, dictionary compiler and teacher of English, was born in Durrës, Albania, on October 28, 1950. After having been graduated in English at the Foreign Languages Faculty in Tirana, worked a long time in the oil industry as a technical translator and interpreter. From 1991 to 1998, represented German, American and Australian exploring oil and gas companies in Albania. From 2001 to date teaches English at private middle schools and language centres.
His first book, the bilingual Oil and Gas Dictionary of 25,000 terms, came out in 1994, but it was 2001 when he started to write and have published poetry, novels, essays and translations. In eight years his published books reached the number twenty – one. He is busy writing other books. In March, 2009, he participated in the International Festival of Poetry in Dubai and received a “Certificate of Appreciation”. In May 2009, attended a poetry gathering in Toronto. The Municipality, Public Library and Union of Writers in Fier granted him with the certificate of the Best Read Writer of the year, given for the first time ever in Fier. Vladimir is a member of the Albanian Writers’ Union and of the Academie Europeenne Des Arts a.s.b.l. His ardent ambition is to make 50 books published and possibly have the thriller trilogy “Mystery in Virpazar” on screen. He has just finished writing its movie script.
These are Vladimir’s books: Fjalori i Naftës dhe i Gazit, 1994; (Dictionary); “Kapitulli i fundit”, roman, 2001; (Novel, Albanian); “Mona Liza qan”, poezi (shqip - anglisht), 2002; (Poetry, bilingual); “Unë dhe ti”, poezi (shqip - anglisht), 2003; (Poetry, Albanian); “Sikur ta dija”, poezi, 2003; (poetry, bilingual); “A – Z of Vladimir”, poezi në anglisht, 2004; (poetry, English); “The Last Chapter”, 2004, versioni anglisht i romanit “Kapitulli i Fundit”, botuar nga shtëpia botuese amerikane “AuthorHouse”; (Novel, English); “Libri i fallit”, 2005; (The Book of Fate); “Libri i magjisë”, 2007; (The Book of Magic); “Polonia, Unë dhe Bjondet”, Ese alternative, 2006; (Alternative Essay, Albanian); “Mister në Virpazar”, roman vol. I, 2007; (Novel, trilogy, Vol.1, Albanian); “Libri i Kurioziteteve”, 2008; (The book of Curiosities); “Libri i Humorit”, 2008; (The Book of Humour); “Energjia Pranike”, përkthim, 2008; (Pranic Energy, translation); “Bota drejt barbarizmit dhe profetët”, artikuj shkencorë të përkthyer, 2008; (Collection of scientific articles, translated); “Mysafiri i Drakulës”, tregime autorësh perëndimorë përkthyer nga anglishtja, 2008; (Collection of stories, translated); “Nata qan ...” poezi, 2008; (Poetry, Albanian); “Netët e fundit mbi Nil”, roman vol.2, 2009; (Novel, trilogy, Vol.2); “Nga Fiumiçino tek Pearson”, poezi (shqip - anglisht), 2009; (poetry, bilingual); “Poema nga shkretëtira”, poezi (përkthim). (poetry, translation); “Përsiatje Vetmitari”, poezi të zgjedhura; (Selected Poems, Albanian)
BRANO HOCHEL was born in Bratislava, Slovaquia, in 1951. He is a poet, essayist, translator, publisher, and professor. “His verses are quiet varied in measure, if not in content. Although nearly all the poems here are free verse, we also come across an occasional quatrain. Hochel’s writing is not concerned with broad philosophical questions or with political issues. Rather, his verses might be called existential in nature. Hochel deals with the often bizarre side of everyday life, as well as with the psychological double binds which people who are close place upon one another.” (Michael Sosa).
UWE KOLBE was born in East Berlin in 1957 to family that sailed the inland waterways. He was raised in East Berlin, undertook military service after leaving school in 1976, and first published his poetry in the journal Sinn und Form in June 1976. In 1980-81 he undertook a course at the Johannes R. Becher Literary Institute in Leipzig, the GDR’s leading centre for the study of poetics and creative writing. From 1982-1987 he published the magazine Mikado with Lothar Trolle and Bernd Wagner. In 1985 he was granted a visa which permitted him to travel to western Europe and the USA. From the spring of 1987 he lived in West-Germany in Worpswede, from 1988 in Hamburg, but returned to Berlin in 1993. From 1997-2004 he was Director of the Literature and Theatre Studio at the University of Tübingen, and has since returned to live in Berlin. Uwe Kolbe has held guest lectureships at the Universities of Texas at Austin, Essen, Bielefeld, Erlangen and at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. He has been awarded a number of important prizes. Aside from his eight collections of poetry – amongst those Hineingeboren (1980), Bornholm II (1986), Vineta (1998), Die Farben des Wassers (2001), Heimliche Feste (2008) – he has also published Vaterlandkanal (a travel book, 1990), Die Situation (1994), Renegatentermine (essays, 1998), Thrakische Spiele (detective novel, 2005) and Storiella. Das Maerchen von der Unruhe (fairy tale, 2008).
LUIGI CINQUE was born in Italy. He is a poly-instrumental performer, composer, producer Luigi Cinque, an interpreter of multiculturalism and of the melting glots phenomenon, a steady presence in the contemporary musical scenes, both jazz and traditional. Since the early Seventies he's been working in order to mix Mediterranean tendences with jazz and contemporary classical music.
In the Eighties he's been on the scene, being a part of european experimental musical, theatrical and multimedial arts currents. As a steady presence he took part – as a soloist as well as in an ensemble – in the most important european meetings and festivals. He still works and plays togheter with avant-garde theaters and with new european dance currents. Luigi Cinque plays togheter with some of the most interesting progressive rock and jazz bands in Italy. He writes and directs contemporary operas and big metropolitan events based on music and images, held in: Rome, Rio De Janeiro, Jakarta, Sidney, Tokyo, Nairobi, Dakar, Tel Aviv, Moscow.
In 1997 Luigi Cinque organized for the first time the Festival Romapoesia. He wrote and directed several video-works for RAI, Artè France, Canada, Spain, and he is renowed as one of the most representative writer/performer of the new frontier between music anthropology, musical writing and new applied technologies. He helds a "History of Music" course in Rome, Department of Linguistic and Philological Studies, La Sapienza University.
MILENA ERCOLANI was born in the Republic of San Marino in 1963. She writes poetry from her childhood. Poetry books: Fuggendo dal regno di Niente, 1993; Mareggiate, 1995; Donna in Mare, 1996; Il canto della crisalide, 2005. Narrative books: Celesta, 2007 and Figlie della luna, 2009. She is also author of stories books and fables to children. Prizes: Premio del Concurso Internacional Calabria Domani; Padus Amoenus International Prize in Poetry and Literature and La Montagnola National Prize in poetry and narrative. From some years ago she collaborates with the Social Center Dogana, organizing programs dedicated to the divulgation of poetry and literature. With a group of artists she founded the Literary and cultural association “Il Cenacolo”. She belongs to the Dante Alighieri Society in San Marino.
VASYL MAKHNO is a Ukrainian poet, essayist, translator and playwright. Born in 1964, He is the author of seven collections of poetry: Skhyma (1993), Caesar’s Solitude (1994), The Book of Hills and Hours (1996), The Flipper of the Fish (2002), 38 Poems about New York and Some Other Things (2004), Cornelia Street Café: New and Selected Poems (2007), a book of essays The Gertrude Stein Memorial Cultural and Recreation Park (2006), and two plays Coney Island (2006) and Bitch/Beach Generation (2007). He has also translated Zbigniew Herbert’s and Janusz Szuber’s poetry from Polish into Ukrainian, and edited an anthology of young Ukrainian poets from the 1990’s. The poems, essays and plays of Vasyl Makhno have been translated into Polish, English, German, Serbian, Romanian, Slovene, Russian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Czech and Belorussian languages. In the recent years were published his selected poems in Poland, Romania, and USA. Vasyl Makhno was a participant in many International Literary Festivals in Europe, America, and Asia. He has been living in New York since 2000.
UDO KAWASSER was born in Austria in 1965. He is a poet, prose writer, essayist, translator of Latin-American literature, dancer and choreographer of contemporary dance, as well as a teacher of German in the University of Viena. He studied German, French and Spanish Philology and received the Voralberger Literature Prize in 2001 and the Dulcinea Poetry Prize, in 2008. He translated El cerebro que canta, seven poets in German, La Habana, 2009. Some of his books: Einbruch der Landschaft: Zürich-Havanna, 2007; kein mund. mündung, 2008. He has published in the magazines Wespennest (Viena), ndl (Berlin), literatur+kritik (Salzburg), lichtungen (Graz), entwürfe (Zürich), allmende (Germany), krautgarten (Belgium), etc.
METTE MOESTRUP was born in Denmark, in 1969. She made her debut in 1998 with the quietly mumbling poetry collection Tatoveringer (Tattoos) which in 2002 was followed by a very different, enthusiastic and extroverted collection Golden Delicious; her great breakthrough arrived with Moestrup's third book, Kingsize, in 2006, a powerful presentation of quality, which deservedly brought her the newly founded Montana Prize for Literature this Spring.
Moestrup holds a degree in the history of literature and is one of Denmark's leading Rilke experts, and, as she writes in the poem 'A Bite of the Banana': 'Call me intellectual, I do it myself./ I can take it.' And the most delightful thing about her poetry is that she does not distance herself from intellectuality, but firmly interweaves it into a brilliantly mastered, traditional poetic practice: harmonious : musically existential pain, and a playful intercourse with (traditional!) avantgardish strategies, such as pastiche and the ready-made.
One poem refers to the children's game of 'Mess-Mother' in which the players entangle themselves with each other really thoroughly, and Kingsize as a whole and, now and then, the individual poem may well also seem like a refined and hilarious round of 'Mess-Mother' for 1 sharp intellectual, 1 sensitive main poet and 1 crafty avantgardist, all by the name of Mette Moestrup: 1,2,3, tangle!
JENNY TUNEDAL was born in Sweden in 1973. He published her first book, Hejdande, hejdande sken, in 2003. This year she received the Prince Eugene Cultural Award for her work as poet, critic and editor of Lyrikvännen. Her tenure as editor of this journal, one of the oldest (founded 1954) and most prestigious in Scandinavia, has been characterized by an intense interest in the poetry of other nations, including American poetry. Tunedal has translated the poetry of American poets such as Sylvia Plath, Claudia Rankine and Emily Dickinson. This is how she describes her poetics: "Poetry is maybe, to attempt, rushing against the language walls. Poetry is thoughts that continue to continue. Poetry is written on its paper, without a doubt, and doubts and hesitates, a wavering writ. The poem lays still and moves. Poetry is maybe, dubiously gray. Like when black and white and light and darkness merge, like when snow does not quite cover the ground, like night before it falls, like faces that are shadowed by memory. That is one example. The poem is worse than that."
CAROLINE BIRD, who was born in 1986, was a winner of the Foyles Young Poets of the Year Award in 1999 and 2000, and the Peterloo Poets Competition for Young Poets in 2002, 2003 and 2004. She was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002. Her first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, was published by Carcanet Press in 2002. She was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize for Young Writers for her second collection, Trouble Came To The Turnip (Carcanet 2006.) Her third collection, Watering Can, was published November 2009 and achieved a ‘Poetry Book Society Recommendation.’ Caroline Bird is also a playwright: she has had two rehearsed readings at the Royal Court, three student productions in Oxford and one at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. She has read and discussed her poetry on many BBC Radio programmes including Finelines, Woman’s Hour and The Verb, and the BBC commissioned her short story, ‘Sucking Eggs’, broadcast in 2003. She wrote and performed two films for the recent BBC poetry season. She has read her poetry at a range of venues and festivals including the Royal Festival Hall, Hay, Cheltenham, Ledbury, Manchester, Glasgow and Manchester Literary Festivals. She is an enthusiastic leader of poetry workshops in schools and a regular teacher at the Arvon Foundation. She is currently the president of the Oxford Poetry Society.
POET OF OCEANIA
JAMES NORCLIFFE was born in Greymouth, New Zealand in March 3, 1946. He is a Christchurch writer who wears a number of writing and editing hats. He is perhaps best known as an award-winning poet with six collections published, most recently Rat Tickling, Along Blueskin Road and Villon in Millerton. He has also published short fiction and five, mainly fantasy, novels for younger people. His latest novel The Assassin of Gleam this year won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for best NZ fantasy novel and was short-listed for the Esther Glen Award. Among books he has edited are Big Sky an anthology of Canterbury poems (with Bernadette Hall) and with Alan Bunn and currently Tessa Duder the Re-Draft series of anthologies of young people’s writing. James Norcliffe is currently vice-president of the NZ Poetry Society and poetry editor both of the Christchurch Press and of Takahe magazine. He has been Burns Fellow, and has enjoyed writing residencies in Hobart and Iowa.