By Ogova Ondego
Published June 27, 2011
More than 90 poets from 50 countries shall gather in Medellin, the capital of Colombia, the South American country that has been in conflict over the past 50 years for the 21st International Poetry Festival of Medellin, July 2-9, 2011.
The festival, that shall be graced by Derek Walcott, the winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature, shall “pay homage to the Spirit of Origin and to African poetry, as it was in the black continent where the human legend arose, and where the winged hearts of its griots breathed poetry into the heart of the species.”
The African delegation to the festival comprises singers Madosini Latozi Mpahleni (South Africa), Chiwoniso Maraire (Zimbabwe) and Tania Tomé (Mozambique), poets Werewere Liking (Cameroon), Haji Gora Haji (Zanzibar), Shailja Patel (Kenya), Antonio Gonçalves (Angola), Lebogang Mashile, Pitika Ntuli, Iain Ewok Robinson (South Africa) and Rachid Boudjedra (Algeria). The participation of the African singers and poets is facilitated by Poetry Africa and the Centre for Creative Arts of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Musician Pedro Espi-Sanchis (South Africa-Spain) will also participate in the event, according to a Press statement issued by the International Poetry Festival of Medellín.
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Organised and presented by the Prometeo poetry magazine,the 21st International Poetry Festival of Medellín will include the World Meeting of International Poetry Festival Directors, the 15th Poetry School of Medellin, a cycle of seven feature-length African films, a celebration for the premiere of the documentary RESISTANCE CULTURES by the Korean Iara Lee and 164 free events for the public.
With the attendance of 35 international poetry festivals confirmed, the World Meeting of International Poetry Festival Directors is expected to tackle issues such as Peace and reconstruction of the human spirit, Interconnection and recovery of nature, Unity of the human spirit and cultural diversity of peoples, Material indigence and spiritual riches and Actions for the globalisation of poetry.
The festivals whose representatives will deliberate on the above issues include: Krytia (India), Teheran (Iran), Tokyo (Japan), Smyrna (Turkey), Qinghai (Popular Republic of China), Tel Aviv (Israel), Durban (South Africa), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Struga (Macedonia), Paris (France), Granada (Spain), Berlin and Bremen (Germany), Rome (Italy), Kiev (Ukraine), Oslo (Norway), Palabra en el Mundo (Argentina/Italy), San Francisco (United States), Trois-Rivières (Canada), Tabasco and Veracruz (Mexico), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Havana (Cuba), Santiago de Chile (Chile), City of Panama (Panama), Medellín, Bogotá, Pereira and Pasto (Colombia), Quetzaltenango (Guatemala), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Valparaíso (Chile), San José (Costa Rica) and San Salvador (El Salvador).
It is expected that this Meeting will give rise to the bases for the creation of a World Network of Poetry Projects and Festivals.
The Asian poets in Medellín shall consist of Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi (Myanmar), Amir Or (Israel), Jidi Majia (Popular Republic of China), Ban’ya Natsuishi (Japan), Zahreef Ahmed (Kashmir), Rira Abbasi (Iran), Hadaa Sendoo (Mongolia), Zakaria Mohammed (Palestine), Ataol Behramoglu (Turkey) and Kamran Mir Hazar (Afghanistan).
European poets programmed to read their poems in the new edition of the Festival include Dutchman Cees Nooteboom, Julian Heun (Germany), Fernando Valverde, Elena Medel, Anna Aguilar-Amat, Tomàs Arias, J. M. Calleja, Pedro Enríquez, Kirmen Uribe (Spain), Agneta Falk (Sweden), Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia), Lello Voce, Carlo Bordini, Giovanna Mulas (Italy), Christian Ide Hintze (Austria), Sigurbjörg Thrastardóttir (Iceland), Niillas Holmberg (Finland, Sami nation), Endre Ruset (Norway), Raphael Urweider (Switzerland) and Iryna Vikyrchak (Ukraine).
Also joining the festival line up of guests will be Australian Philip Hammial, American Jack Hirschmann, and Latin Americans Thiago de Mello (Brazil), Marco Antonio Campos, Aarón Rueda, Mariana Hernández, Sixto Cabrera, Roberto Arismendi (Mexico), Gabriel Impaglione (Argentina), Alex Pausides, Aitana Alberti, Waldo Leyva, Magia López (Cuba), Julio Mitjans Cabrera, winner of the La Gaceta – Prometeo Prize (Cuba), Rodolfo Häsler (Cuba-Spain), Marvin García (Guatemala), Louis-Philippe Dalembert (Haiti), José Mármol (Dominican Republic), Kwame Dawes (Ghana-Jamaica), Lucy Cristina Chau (Panama), Carmen Ollé (Peru), Faumelisa Manquepillán (Mapuche nation,Chile), José María Memet (Chile), Rodolfo Dada (Costa Rica) and Otoniel Guevara (El Salvador).
More than 1000 poets from 156 countries are reported to have already taken part in the festival, and poets from Afghanistan, Myanmar and Zanzibar will attend for the first time.