For One Cultural Transformations
In a country sharply divided by a war of more than forty years and suffering under endemic social problems, the XVI International Poetry Festival of Medellín, organized by the poetry review Prometeo, was held between June 24 and July 2, in Medellín and nine other Colombian cities, as a demonstration of the spiritual strength of the Colombian people facing adversity, and of its legitimate aspiration to life and beauty.
Some 70 poets from 42 countries took part in this world poetical event, praised in the media of all continents for its unprecedented massive assistance of public in the history of poetry, which has opened in Medellín the door to great cultural transformations leading to a new life and leaving far behind the violence that shook the antioqueño capital when the Festival was founded in 1991, when there were daily explosions of car bombs in the war of drug traffickers against the Colombian state.
As a result of the illuminating experience of the Festival, there was prevailing in the city during the nine days of the event a powerful, sensitive and spiritual atmosphere, as its citizens, mostly the young people was flock to 107 activities that include, besides the poetry readings, writing workshops, lectures, courses, seminars, films and exhibitions, all of them free of charge.
The International Poetry Festival of Medellín represents a contemporary world poetry trend that considers poetry should be directed to the whole of society, in order to contribute to changing and overcoming the difficult material and cultural conditions of human life in our country, that has suffered more than 40 years of war, contrary to some "specialists" who think poetry should be read and appreciated only in privacy.
The poets that participaded in the XVI International Poetry Festival of Medellín were: Fabián Casas (Argentina), Ramiz Rovshan (Azerbaijan), Marion Bethel (Bahamas), Stefaan Van den Bremt (Belgium), María Soledad Quiroga (Bolivia), Lucila Nogueira (Brazil), Monique Ilboudo (Burkina Faso), José Luis Hopffer (Cape Verde), Marcel Kemadjou Njanke (Cameroon), Al Hunter (Anishinaabe Nation, Canada), Jaime Luis Huenún (Mapuche Nation, Chile), Álvaro Miranda, Ricardo Cuéllar, Mery Yolanda Sánchez, José Ramón Mercado, Felipe Agudelo, Andrea Cote, Lucía Estrada, Víctor López Rache, Darío Villegas, Orlando López, Ángela Tello, Catalina González, Clemencia Sánchez,Viviana Restrepo, Diana Berrío, Eliana Maldonado, Allan Luna (Colombia), Osvaldo Sauma (Costa Rica), Omar Pérez, Pedro de Oraá, Rito Ramón Aroche, Charo Guerra, Alberto Rodríguez Tosca (Cuba), Iván Oñate (Ecuador), Sayed Hegab, Ahmad Al Shahawi (Egypt), Nora Méndez (El Salvador), Lenrie Peters (Gambia), Rosa María Chávez (Guatemala), Spiros Vergos (Greece), Merle Collins (Grenada), Al Creighton (Guyana), Francesca Randazzo (Honduras), Muhsin al-Ramli (Irak), Elisa Biagini (Italy), Linton Kwesi Johnson (Jamaica), Mohammed Al-Nabhan (Kuwait), Bassam Hajjar (Lebanon), Claudine Kranz (Liechtenstein), David Rubadiri (Malawi), Jorge Cocom Pech (Maya Nation, Mexico), Macario Matus (Zapoteca Nation, Mexico), Michael Harlow (New Zealand), Gioconda Belli (Nicaragua), Adamou Idé (Niger), Toyin Adewale-Gabriel (Nigeria), Katia Chiari (Panama), Odi Gonzáles (Quechua Nation, Peru), Etnairis Rivera (Puerto Rico), Soad Alkwari (Qatar), Kendel Hippolyte (Santa Lucia), Huda Al Daghfaq (Saudi Arabia), Hans C. ten Berge (The Netherlands), Cynthia James (Trinidad and Tobago), Quincy Troupe (United States), Eduardo Espina (Uruguay), Amadou Lamine Sall (Senegal), Antonio Porpetta, Guadalupe Grande (Spain), Vince Fasciani (Switzerland), Néstor Francia, César Seco (Venezuela).
To the encounter also attended the poet awarded with the I International Poetry Prize City of Medellin for books published in Spanish Rodolfo Alonso (Argentina), the poet Cristian de Nápoli (Argentina) winner of V Latin American Poetry Prize City of Medellín for unpublished books, and poet Saúl Gómez (Colombia) winner of The I Prize of Encouragement For The Colombian Young Poetry.
The XVI International Poetry Festival of Medellín will be held with the backing of the City Government of Medellín, the Dutch foundations Hivos, Cordaid, Doen, Prince Claus Fund, the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombia, the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, International Organization of Francophony, Confiar and the Fundación Suramericana. A great many embassies in Colombia, as well as international and local institutions, have contributed in various forms to the realization of this Festival.
As a now traditional part of the Festival, the X Poetry School of Medellín was held, with the participation of national and international well-known poets who will give six courses, seven lectures, three workshops and five seminars with the audience, mostly young poets of the city, readers of poetry and university students from all over the country.
In the Festival there were also cycles of Japanese and Cuban films and present as well the films from Charles Chaplin The Great Dictator and A King in New York.
So far, in the fifteen previous years of the Festival, 670 poets from 123 countries and five continents, have taken part in 784 poetry readings in Medellín and thirty other Colombian cities.