Mensajes de algunos de los poetas invitados

A continuación, presentamos algunas de las comunicaciones que algunos de los poetas invitados nos han enviado. Los mensajes se presentan tal como nos han llegado, es decir, no se han hecho, por ejemplo, correcciones ortográficas. Muchos de los mensajes han llegado en otras lenguas, y están sin traducir. Los nombres de los remitentes se presentan siempre al finalizar el mensaje, y sólo hemos añadido, para mayor ilustración, el país de origen. 


Dear friend,

Things are good here at home, but very hot, 40 degrees Celsius! We had big storms just before I returned--many large trees fell on houses and cars, and many people lost electricity and water, which is hard because of the heat. Luckily my house did not have any problems.

I have never experienced anything like the Poetry Festival in Medellin. I felt that I belonged there. Thank you for all you did to make this feeling possible. I will need to finish my 2nd book of poems now, and I know this experience will change the way I write, because it has changed the way I see the world. Here in the U.S., the media refers to "developing nations" and "third-world countries" in much the same way that they once referred to American Indians: as though the people are of a different species, somehow less than human, or at some earlier stage of evolution. It is a condescending attitude, based on stereotypes and not on experience. I learned in Medellin that Colombian people are more advanced than Americans, not less, because they read poetry and appreciate art in a global sense, and because they are more deeply concerned about humanity and sensitive to injustice than most people in my country. As an indigenous person, I felt more understanding among Colombian people than among Americans, even though I don't speak Spanish. The truth is that people are the same everywhere, but in some places they are tolerant and not so much in others. I am so happy to have met you and all of my new friends.

Here is the commentary you requested. I hope it is helpful. 

Thanks again, and hugs to you and your whole family, 

Karenne Wood (Estados Unidos, Nación Monacan)


Pensaba escribirte con mas calma, pasado un tiempo, despues de digerir tan mayuscula experiencia en mi vida de poeta como lo fue el Festival de Poesia de Medellin. La verdad, agradezco a ti y a tu padre, demas organizadores y equipo de trabajo por esa empresa. Quisiera saber si te hicieron llegar un libro que te deje. La verdad, como lo dije al inicio, asi como el Canal de Panama es el punto de paso de todas las naves del mundo, asi lo es el Festival de Medellin.

Javier Alvarado (Panamá)


The Medellin festival was great, I had best experience. It's so well organized with richness in different cultures and diversity in poetic voice. All the activities were very interesting. The food was great too! I was very impressed by the translation of the poems for each poet, it's great work, and thank you again for arranging the translation. Thank you and all the organizing committee members, all the translators, all the volunteers, all the readers, and all the audience. I still couldn't believe that my Spanish reader would turn one of my poems into a song with her soul-touching music and voice. The trip to Columbia was memorable and inspiring.

The only area that can be improved: I wish we had more opportunities to listen to other poets' reading. 

For 2013 or 2014, if you would like to invite more Chinese poets from China, I can help. And I thank you in advance -- I wish more poets from inside China can experience Columbia and Medellin.

Wishing you more success!

Mindy Zhang (China)


Queridos amigos,

Hoy, estoy escribiendo un artículo en neerlandés sobre el festival de Medellín para la revista mensual MO* en Bélgica (tirada 80.000), en realidad estoy escribiendo un diario. Puedo enviarte un comentario acerca del balance y de mi experiencia del festival después del 21 de julio.

Un abrazo amistoso,

Geert van Istendael (Bélgica)


I’ve had many wonderful adventures in my long life. The best was my first trip to Tibet seven days after it opened to backpackers. To that best I now add the Medellin Festival. I’ve been to some excellent poetry festivals, Poetry Africa & the festival at Trois Rivieres, Quebec, to name two. But the Medellin festival was even better. It started at the airport when we were met by some of your friendly and very helpful young volunteers and continued at the four star Gran Hotel where we were welcomed with big warm hugs from several people. By the second day I had already met about thirty of the participating poets and by the end of the festival had become acquainted with all of the poets except some of the Colombian poets who weren’t staying at the hotel. By the end of the festival I felt that I’d known at least twenty of the poets all my life – brothers and sisters. You guys are magicians. You somehow managed to create an incredibly warm, exciting, electric atmosphere such as I’ve never experienced in my life. And the audiences – a poet’s dream, all of them at all of the venues – very attentive, very respectful, warm, cheering, applauding. Magic. Here in Australia you can consider yourself lucky if you can get thirty people to a reading, some of them chattering in the background, shuffling manuscripts, going to the toilet… In Medellin we were rock stars. Here we’re generally seen as dole-bludging good-for-nothings. I’ll never forget the opening event when, after the readings, some young men in the audience started drumming and we, audience and poets, were dancing. Dancing at a poetry reading! That would never happen in Australia. At my first reading, at the little park in the Municipio de Itagui, we encountered another dream audience – very attentive, very respectful. And most of the people seemed to me to be working class people and shopkeepers with quiet children and dogs roaming around. Working class people at a poetry reading.Incredible. And, wonder of wonders, a reading at a large modern shopping mall to an audience of about 120 people. Never would that happen at one of our shopping malls. And after every reading people came to us to say “Thank you for coming to Colombia to read your poetry,” wanting autographs, to pose for photographs. Again, incredible. And the people of Medellin: the most lively, warm, welcoming, smiling people I’ve ever met (along with the Tibetans who, like the people of Colombia, have suffered some extreme hardship and violence). The amazing people of Medellin – ready to dance and party at the drop of a hat! The closing event was the most powerful, exciting event I’ve ever witnessed ­– cheering, applauding, shouting “More More!” And, when it started to rain, 90% of the people stayed to listen to poetry. Only in Medellin could that happen. Also, your technicians were excellent. Here, more often than not, we poets encounter screeching, booming mikes controlled by inept technicians. And 120 young people volunteering to help out because they like to hang out with poets! Here our schools teach children to hate poetry: Use this scalpel to slice this poem apart and then wonder, when you put it back together, why it’s dead. I must apologise for my poor translations. I was only able to find two young Spanish language poets in Australia willing to undertake some translations. Unfortunately the one I choose made a mess of my poems, getting lines completely wrong, using Argentine words that no one else in the Spanish-speaking world uses, and I’m told that he had what we call a tin ear, couldn’t hear the music of his own language. Thanks to Pamela most of these mistakes were corrected at the last minute. She even retranslated a long poem, rewriting every line but one. Please send her my gratitude and, if possible, ask her if she could e-mail me her translation of my ‘Colonels’. One of the best things that happened was meeting Jose Fernandez and his film-maker friends Jon and Antonio. Jose told me that he’s going to ask his English wife to translate some of my poems into Spanish, enough possibly for a book. Apparently Jose knows publishers in Spain who might be willing to do so. You can imagine how delighted I’ll be if that happens.

I need to write an acquittal report for the Copyright Agency who paid my airfare. Could you please confirm if I’ve got it right. 148 events at 96 venues in 19 municipalities. How many poets actually got to the festival and from how many nations? How many read at the final event to an audience of how many thousand? I could write much more but will close with an incident that happened to me at the Medellin airport while I was waiting for my plane. A young woman, a complete stranger came up to me and said: “You are a great poet; I saw you at… It doesn’t get any better than that. So thank you very very much for inviting me to the Medellin Festival.

Many best wishes,

Philip Hammial (Australia)


Queridos amigos: a grandes rasgos, mi balance del Festival es el siguiente:


Es imposible, pero tendría que ser obligatorio para todo poeta visitar una vez en la vida -al menos una vez- el Festival de Poesía de Medellín. Algo tan íntimo como el trabajo poético se transforma durante una semana en fiesta colectiva y laboratorio lírico de largo alcance. De cara a divulgar y potenciar el Movimiento Poético Mundial la existencia del festival de Medellín resulta imprescindible. Cada poeta que pasa por el festival se convierte en altavoz del Movimiento. Medellín, por lo tanto, atrae e irradia poesía en todas direcciones. Mi balance no puede ser más positivo.

Para ediciones sucesivas, plantearía la celebración de mesas redondas y debates que podrían ser radiados o televisados. 

Un gran abrazo para todos,

José Fernández de la Sota (País Vasco, España)



Sorry for the delay, I caught cold on my way back,

Thanks for inviting me again to take part in the festival. It was a wonderful experience, poetry is often a lonely work, but coming to the festival I felt part of a universal poetry familly,

I felt so grateful to all of you and to the public as well- they could get the essence of each poem, a sensitivity which is rare in the our world, poetry in Medellin is so alive,

I just watched a documentary about Columbia and understood further the struggle and difficulties of your country, I think columbians have a strong soul that allow them to keep hope and integrity. It was really great and informative to be introduced to aborigine cultures and poets and I will write about them soon..

I kept so many good memories, I already miss my daily walk to see Botero's sculptures! I have photos of his work on my wall at home,

As usual the organization was perfect,
May be would be nice to have a general meeting with Fernando and you and invited poets, sometime around the end, to discuss our impressions and what could be done by each of us as follow on...

I think the idea to focus on a theme each year is excellent, because it introduces poets to a major unknown theme while having other poets... I don't have now a suggestions for next time.

I left without saying a proper goodbye to all of you, I also wanted to discuss with Fernando the possibility to include an Arab festival with the WPM.. I will come with few ideas later, certainly not because you have an israeli festival, but because of the importance of the arab poetry and what's going on in that part of the world... as I live in London I need to check with few poets about this...

Could you please send me email of Juan, Also email or tel of wonderful Marcela my reader, i was overwelmed to say goodbye to many poets, so couldn't see her on the last day,

I am already writing a poem about Medellin,

Please if i could be of any help in any aspect. Let me know, you are now part of my wonderful creative family,

Fathieh Saudi (Jordania, Reino Unido)


Ante todo quiero darles las gracias, a la organización del festival de poesía, por haberme honrado con la invitación a participar y ayudar así a que mis poemas encuentren a sus lectores. Mi experiencia fue inolvidable y mi impresión es la estar ante un fenómeno único. Me sorprendió la masiva asistencia a las lecturas y sobre todo, la excelente organización del evento. Fue para mí la oportunidad de conocer mucha gente, entre poetas y público.

Carlos Framb (Colombia)


Warm greetings from Manila!

The festival was my favorite poetry storm. I have never experienced
such love for poetry, or people as warm, or a city as diverse and exciting 
as Medellin. 

As I believe that the festival was very well-run, and very organized,
(and, I would like to add, very exciting because we were able to read
our poems in various places and in front of various audiences), I really
cannot suggest points of improvement.

We made many new friends in Medellin, and we hope to someday return.

Yours always,

Mookie Katigbak (Filipinas)


Ante todo muchas gracias otra vez por la acogida siempre cálida que me brindaron y el apoyo constante que recibí de la organización del festival y de tu parte.

El balance es, nuevamente, bastante positivo en lo personal y en lo que pude apreciar durante los días del festival. La asistencia siempre cálida y la respuesta que percibí por parte del público que me correspondió, seguramente contribuye a confirmar las demás opiniones de los poetas participantes en el sentido de que el festival continúa siendo uno de los más felices acontecimientos que la palabra poética convoca en el mundo, y el orgullo, la satisfacción maravillosa de poder compartir con todos esta celebración de la poesía no alcanza a ser del todo expresada. 

Pienso que sólo aspectos menores propios de la logística interna del festival que ya ustedes deben tener detectados pudieran ser mejorados en el futuro. En lo demás, creo que todo ha salido muy bien. 

Un abrazo afectuoso y toda mi gratitud para cada uno de los amigos que conforman el equipo.

Pedro Arturo Estrada (Colombia)


Thank you everybody! I had a fantastic time with you all, my warmest love to the festival and everyone involved, you do a great and important job!

On my way home from Colombia my camera was stolen, so I have no pictures from the trip, but it is not so bad, the memories I made there were so strong that I don't really think I need pictures...!

I hope you are all well! All the best!

Sigbjørn Skaden (Noruega, Nación Sami)


Queridos. Quiero agradecerles con toda la fuerza de mi corazón por permitirme conocerlos. No pude despedirme como deseaba de cada uno pero siempre me acompañarán como ese aliento de vida que entra al cuerpo.

Un abrazo de Leymen Pérez (Cuba)


My experience in the Medellin festival was the best in regards to audience and organization of events. However, I suggest to use the screen for translation and for introductions to save time and have all of the poets read at opening and closing one poem each. And because the colombian audience is so great, the poets should be selected more carefully. The poets were great persons but a lot of poems read were not powerful enough.
The volunteers were very kind, I hope they get compensated for their efforts.
Finally, you all deserve a big credit and a heartfelt gratitude.

Best regards

Dunya Mikhail (Irak)


Amigos míos: qué importante y liberador ha sido nuestro encuentro. Ahora, en nuestra diáspora planetaria, mantengamos nuestros lazos mentales para continuar alimentando nuestras luchas vitales diversas. Quiero dedicarles a todos un pensamiento de amorosa fraternidad que despliegue el recuerdo palpitante de su presencia.

Ha sido grande lo que produjimos a Colombia en esta semana de poesía: hicimos operaciones sobre la memoria sutil del país que reverberan con esperanza en el conjunto de la nación. Los colombianos se preparan para tomar el camino de la emancipación y muchos de ellos llegan a través de vías inspiradas por la poesía. La invocación al espíritu aborigen de la tierra levanta insospechadas olas de percepción y valoración de la belleza de lo simple y lo salvaje. Esas imágenes de libertad primigenia permanecerán en nuestra psique como fundamento de nuestra catarsis y transformación venidera. 

Hallé en las personas asistentes a las lecturas los mejores lectores y oidores que un escritor o poeta pueda experimentar. El lenguaje poético ha dejado de ser un suceso exótico o elitista para convertirse en el código en el que se relacionan los jóvenes de Medellín. La idea de que generaciones de personas se conviertan en creadores de sentidos poéticos se presiente como una realidad cuando se comparte con el público del Festival. Que de público, las personas que asisten a las lecturas pasen a ser más creativos y dinámicos, más propositivos en sus individuales profesiones y oficios, más atrevidos en sus manifestaciones colectivas, se está a pocos pasos en el Festival de poesía de Medellín.

Agradeciendo a todos la prodigiosa virtud de su abrazo, en cariño permanente,

Angye Gaona (Colombia)


Thank you so much. It was indeed a totally unforgettable experience, and I am very grateful to have been offered the chance to participate.

I hope to hear more about the World Poetry Movement, too.

Once again, many, many thanks.

Jane King (Santa Lucía)


Estimado amigo,

Recibo este mail y ya de vuelta a casa, un poco más tranquilo, lo primero que quiero hacer es agradecerte personalmente mi invitación al festival, así como el trato dispensado, pues en todo momento me he sentido cómodo y bien atendido.

Hago extensible este agradecimiento a toda la organización del festival, así como a los colaboradores que siempre tuvieron unas palabras de amabilidad con nosotros, los poetas extranjeros, que nunca se sintieron tales, por lo menos en lo que a mí se refiere, ni en Medellín ni en Bogotá.

Vuestra ciudad, la gente, la poesía, tienen desde hoy un amigo inseparable que no puede más que hablar bien de este mundo donde, vuelvo a decirlo, me sentí como en mi propia casa, pero con otra música si cabe.

Te mando un abrazo para ti y otro para tu esposa y vuestro hijo, con mis mejores deseos para todos, por último, en estos tiempos tan extraños donde la poesía gana, cada vez, más terreno, gracias al esfuerzo de gente como vosotros.

Salud, alegría y poesía entonces. Palabra, memoria y silencio. Y que la vidas os lleve por los mejores destinos.

Kepa Murua (País Vasco, España)


Dear all,

first of all: Thank you for all your never-tiring efforts to make us all happy. You are building very friendly memories for all of us with your great hospitality and high-quality events. I am indebtet to you.

I had the "order" to write about the opening night of the Festival. Here comes the article for your press collection:

all my best,

Nora Gomringer (Alemania)



Reciban un saludo afectuoso, fraternal desde los 4400 metros de altura ciudad poblada más alta del mundo, llegué ayer a Cerro de Pasco, no tuve oportunidad de despedirme gracias por la maravillosa hospitalidad, y tu gente culta e inédita en el mundo, y no son palabras palabras sino los poetas de mi entorno decian lo mismo, gracias otra vez, Un abrazo.


Dida Aguirre (Perú, Nación Quechua)


Dear Miss:

I am pleased to write this report on the 22nd Poetry Festival in Medellin.

First of all, allow me to say that it was very well organised and I do thank you very much for funding my air fare expenses. Then, please be informed on the following:

1. For me, the event brought new insight by means of very profitable talks that I had with poets whose work I was interested in a somewhat particular way because of similarities with my own work in terms of approach and execution .

2. I did notice very interesting developments.

3. I made new contacts. In fact , I spent hours reviewing with them matters such as styles currently present in the Festival and the current way of considering tradition and modernity as a problem in the languages involved in the Festival. I furnish you, with pleasure, with the names of poets I did not know before I had the opportunity to meet them at the festival: Nicolás Suescún ( Colombia), Dino Siotis ( Greece), Francis Combes ( France) Geert Van Istendael ( Belgium) and Kepa Murua ( Spain).

As a poet who wrote some twenty books and who participates very often in festivals in Latin America, I should say now that the one in Medellin is absolutely unique.

Very truly yours,

Jacobo Rauskin (Paraguay)


Apreciado Lucho. ya estoy en casa aunque con el trato bellisimo que ustedes me dieron allá me hizo sentirme como en casa. No me dio tiempo de despedirme de ti y de algunos companeros. Por favor hágale llegar a Fernando, Gloria, Gabriel Jaime, Rafael, Jairo, Angela, Zulima y todos los demás comaneros y companeras, a los guías, traductores mi eterno agradecimiento por la amabilidad con que me trataron, todo el carino y el amor que me dieron. me sentí inmensamente feliz entre ustedes y estoy a la orden para lo que ustedes me necesiten. estamos a la orden por acá en caso de que vengan y trataremos de atenderlos como ustedes se lo merecen. 

Lucho seguiremos comunicandonos. quisiera sí las conclusiones de los pueblos indígenas que puedo ponerlas en unas dos páginas bolivarianas acá en venezuela. muchos abrazos y de nuevo mil gracias. Gracias.

Gonzalo Fragui (República Bolivariana de Venezuela)


Dear friends, 

It was such a pleasure attending this great poetry festival and read/perform to such a poetry appreciating nation. This was a transforming experience and it inspired me in many ways. I really can imagine, assembling such a huge festival is not a child's play. You deserve a standing ovation for your efforts.

“If people of the world were to love each other like the way people of Medellin love poetry,

then words such as ‘divorce’ and ‘war’ were going to be removed from the dictionary.”

All in all, this was a great festival, and I convey my gratitude to you, Fernando, and the rest of the team for putting together such a successful festival. Beside the Poetry Africa and the Colombia Embassy in South Africa exchange program, I will look for other avenues to sustain the relation between Colombian poets and African poets, specifically South African.

Best regards,

David Maahlamela (Suráfrica)


Querido Luis Eduardo, muchas gracias por todo. Creo que lo único susceptible de mejorar es ponerle a cada poeta una botella de whisky en la mesa de noche. Espero que te guste el libro que te llevé de las Grandes entrevistas de Común Presencia.

Un abrazo, 

Gonzalo Márquez Cristo (Colombia)


Watta malu, Tawalairua. Compañeros 

Por Datos Adjuntos les envío el texto final del resumen del Panel DEFENSA DE LA TIERRA, con basada en las exposiciones de los y las Poetas representantes de las Naciones Originarias invitadas al 22 Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Junio de 2012.

Quedo sujeto a sus comentarios, los pasos a seguir y el contacto permanente para formalizar la propuesta "Cerros del Valle de Aburrá, sitios sagrados para el Pagamento".

Así mismo de cómo sería nuestra participación en el Movimiento Poético Mundial y especificar nuestros aportes.

Es importante, para ello, mantener una comunicación constante entre nosotros (Directorio y Mensajes).

Mi cálido abrazo para todos

Vito Apüshana (Colombia, Nación Wayuu)


Fernando Rendón,

Tenga Usted una tarde de las energías de gratitud por parte de las voces de la selva, por parte de la mujer que vive y le tiene como un collar de colmillo de tigre colgadita de su pecho, eternamente gracias por compartir esa belleza de la piel de su alma.

Llegué cargada de sueños, unos que ya se cumplieron gracias a su permanencia y otros por cumplirse, llegué con felicidad a mis actividades de oficina, ahora, estoy ya haciendo una cita con el Señor Ministro para hacer la entrega de una revista y otro que llevaré para el Sr. Presidente de la República, para ello deseo pedirle de manera más respetuosa el video de la clausura si esto es posible.

Las voces de los hermanos poetas aún siguen latiendo en mi pecho como una lanza.


Desde mi humilde corazón.

María Clara Sharupi (Ecuador, Nación Shuar)


I had first become aware of this International Poetry Festival in Medellin when my friend and fellow St. Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte returned from his attendance some years ago with great enthusiasm. Then a letter came on February 21st this year, signed by founder of the Festival, Fernando Rendon, inviting me to participate in the 22nd edition from June 23rd to 30th.

I discover subsequently that this Festival is organised by Promoteo magazine and was started in 1991. It received an alternative Nobel Prize in 2006. It has been declared a Cultural Heritage of Columbia by the Congress of that country. In July 2011, it initiated the World Poetry Movement. This year, 2012, 75 poets from 45 countries are expected.

I am asked to submit poems for translation and an essay entitled “How poetry can act in the era of globalisation.” By early March I have submitted everything requested.

I find the website and get information on the other poets expected this year, about the proposed programme, and have a look at other ‘arts poetica’ essays that appear alongside mine. The theme of the Festival this year is “Homage to the spirit of the aboriginal peoples.”

My travel itinerary reveals that I am to go to Medellin via Bogota. For my overnight stay I will be taken care of by Gustavo Garces, a poet. I also learn, as plans and programmes come by email or appear on the website, that I will be giving nine readings, two of them in the city of Bucaramanga.
On my arrival at the Gran Hotel in Medellin early Saturday morning the 23rd June, I am greeted very warmly by Luis Rendon, poet and programme coordinator of the Festival. He gives me two copies of the new Promoteo magazine in which are published translations of my poems. Later I meet two of my translators, the highly respected Nicholas Suescun and Rafael Patino Goez.

The Festival

What a unique experience! What an idea filled with the marvellous imagination of the famous Hispanic-American writers, one of the most famous of whom, Gabriel Garcia Marques, comes from Colombia! – Imagine, poets from all countries of the world, of all races, of all languages, of all poetic styles, gathered for ten days in the once troubled city of Medellin, to read and share their poetry with the citizens. And the citizens come out in huge numbers. The opening and closing ceremonies are held at Cerro Nutibara, the Teatro al aire libre Carlos Vieco. Thousands come and sit for more than four hours and cheer with great enthusiasm the poetic offerings. Even rain on the final evening does not deter the audience.

The other readings in other places – libraries, museums, parks, shopping centres, cultural centres – are all well attended.

I have someone who reads the Spanish translations of my poems. He is Gonzalo Arango and we get on well together, even though we must communicate through an interpreter. The Festival provides interpreters who are constantly present, and readers of translations. I ask for a projector so I can show slides to accompany my readings and these are readily provided wherever I go to read.

The Conference Hotel is the Gran Hotel situated in the central part of this huge city, Calle 54 no. 45-92, at the intersection of one of the busiest avenues, the Avenida Oriental. The Hotel is very comfortable, staff very courteous, the food and service very good. It is in walking distance of shopping centres and the train station. Over the next few days the restaurant will become a meeting place for the participants.

Taxis are provided to take poets to their readings, some quite far away. For my reading in Bucuramanga, I take an hour plane ride from Medellin. There again, the representatives of the Festival are gracious, attentive hosts.

Was the event well organised? Yes it was, very much so. For such a huge undertaking , one can only admire the organisers. I had no problems at any stage of my attendance. Any request was quickly met by someone among the host of volunteers available.

Has the trip been valuable? Oh yes indeed. To experience such a unique festival, to meet poets of all tongues and experiences and talents, is to have one’s eyes opened to the possibilities of poetry and all art. I come from a small island (“150,000 people? That’s the population of a small community in a remote part of this country” said someone to me.) and it is not often possible to keep faith in an art that can seem to many to be elitist. Here in Medellin, this poetry Festival is certainly not for elites but for anyone from any community who wants to attend. It was valuable also since it was my first visit to Hispanic America. I speak English, French and French-Creole, but no Spanish, so it was a major learning experience for me.

Did it bring me new insight? As said above, yes – into poetry and poets, their voices and lines and rhythms (especially where I did not speak their original languages or even that of the Spanish translation); into peoples not far from my own Caribbean, with whom I share so much common colonial history; into the life of a huge American city of the South Continent.

Did I notice interesting developments? – From all I had heard about Medellin, its recent violent history, I found a city going about its business like everyone else in other places, without fear of violence. I enjoyed visiting the museums, and in particular to experience the art of Columbia’s and Medellin’s most famous artistic son, Fernando Botero. The Festival is credited with making a great contribution to returning the city to a state of normalcy.

As to making new contacts, I did, and am already keeping in touch with them.


This visit and participation in this great and unique festival has inspired me in many ways. I’d like to return in the future; after my first visit to Hispanic America, I want to know more about this continental neighbour with whom my island and the islands of the Caribbean share so much; I’d like to travel more in the Southern continent. I have determined to add Spanish to my languages and will soon enroll in a Spanish language class. While I know a fair amount of the literature, it will be advantageous to read the famous and newer writers in their own language. I would like now to work with a publisher in Colombia to produce a bi-lingual edition of my poetry and prose fiction.

For all this I thank Fernando and Luis Rendon and those who invited me to the Medellin Poetry Festival; I thank my gracious hosts in Bogota and Bucuramanga; I thank my translators, interpreters, readers and guides. There are many more to be thanked but let these be representative.
I thank most profoundly the Prince Claus Fund for so generously supporting my attendance and participation in this unique International Festival of poetry in Medellin. Without the Fund’s support I would not have benefited so greatly from my visit to Colombia, Medellin and the poetry festival.
Thank you very much. Gracias!

John Robert Lee (Santa Lucía)


Hola queridos compañeros,

Un abrazo a la distancia para empezar que pura alegria no como empezar. Estoy tan agradecida y tan feliz de haver estado con uds en el festival que se me hacen pocas las palabras. Pienso, que podria recomendar yo para mejorar? si uds son los maestros de un festival de esa envergadura yo le ecuche decir a tantos compañero que nunca habian estado en un encuentro de poesia tan grande como ese, menos yo pues si aqui en Chile hay mucho poetas pero nunca se ha hecho un encuentro asi, y cuando les cuento que estuve en Medellin en un festival grande la gente dice que aqui nos falta mucho saber de poesia. Tarea para los poeta pues de enseñar organizar tal vez encuentros, talleres etc. y aqui estoy yo con la cabeza llena de ideas pero ya veremos si nos permiten los ancestros o si nuestro destino estan trazados las cosas iran saliendo de a poco.

Estamos en comunicacion. muchas muchas gracias por todo.

Maria Teresa Panchillo (Chile, Nación Mapuche)


Lost in Medellin

Far away 
from the kingdoms of Shiites and Sunnis 
from secret veils and ambiguity 
she sits resplendent in vogue
blooming blushing royal purple in late spring
in Medellin a glass of red wine opens her eyes
sees wordsmiths feasting on each other’s beauty
her words tears of joy a celebration
a dance with the star of Bagdad
I need to find her heart

Her eyes firm in tradition
through her horizons into her head 
space I walk search
her desert past hot sand dunes
I need to find her heart

Maybe a butterfly will come
with beautiful wings
peace people flowers of the past
warm summer nights
on roof tops in Bagdad

Long before the wars came
raining terror on your heads
your beds became pillows of salt
desert storms blow across
the face of your land
Blowing away your hijab
I need to find her heart

The prophets say
Nebuchadnezzar will rise again
the rivers of this great land will join
hands washing pain from our hearts
to the gulf

Maybe joy will let her fly
let her dance dance
her sandstorm past
into a rainbow flower
roses blooming in the heart
soul of Medellin

At the end of an Indian rainbow
a secret path
the Nile Tigress
on an alter
holding each other’s heart

Malachi Smith (Jamaica)



Aquí un poema para todos, pero especialmente para los amigos indígenas: 

Terug uit het verre Medellín 
pluk ik frambozen 
in mijn Brusselse tuin.
de rottende
op de composthoop, 
de frisse in 
een plastic bakje.
Woorden in
een gedicht.

Wat is me liever?
Woorden plukken 
In Medellín 
in mijn geboortestad?

Ik weet het niet.


De vuelta de Medellín
la lejana,
recojo las frambuesas 
en mi jardín 
de Bruselas.
las podridas 
en el abono compuesto, 
las frescas en 
una cajita de plástico.
Palabras en 
un poema.

¿Qué me cae mejor?
Recoger palabras en
en mi ciudad natal?

No lo sé. 


Geert van Istendael (Bélgica)

Publicado en octubre 17 de 2012.

Última actualización: 26/04/2020