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28 June 2011

International Poetry Festival Focus on Africa


Poetry Africa and the Centre for Creative Arts (University of
KwaZulu-Natal) are facilitating the participation of a contingent of
African poets and musicians for South America’s legendary Poetry
Festival in Medellín, Columbia. Please see following press release
issued by the International Poetry Festival of Medellín.

Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott
within the framework of the World Poetry Meeting in Medellín

With 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature Derek Walcott attending alongside
a significant delegation of African poets and singers, there will open,
in 10 days’ time, the XXI International Poetry Festival of Medellín,
convened and organized by the Prometeo poetry magazine, with the
participation of over 90 poets from 50 countries of all the continents.
It will 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. During its twenty-first issue, the International Poetry
Festival of Medellín will celebrate its homage to the spirit of Africa

Within the context of the XXI International Poetry Festival of Medellin
there will take place the World Meeting of International Poetry Festival
Directors, with the support of the Nuestra América Network of
International Poetry Festivals and of the International Federation of
Poetry Festivals.

The Festival will take place from July 2nd to 9th, 2011, in a country
burdened with a painful history of over five decades of conflict, as
recently acknowledged by its president Juan Manuel Santos. Poetry is the
ambrosia feeding the spirits of our youth in a time of desolation, and
it is the flame that rises to light the way to the future in a new
country of reconciliation and understanding, of dignity, beauty and

The XXI International Poetry Festival of Medellin will include 164 free
events for the public in general, and is sponsored by the Medellin City
Hall, the Medellín Council, the Ministry of Culture, Hivos, the Spanish
Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), state-owned
companies of Medellín, Poetry Africa, Confiar Caja Cooperativa, the
Swiss Embassy, the Caipirinha Foundation, EAFIT, TeleMedellín and

The African delegation, with collaboration of Peter Rorvik (Poetry
Africa, Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal), shall
consist of the popular singers Madosini Latozi Mpahleni, Chiwoniso
Maraire and Tania Tomé (Mozambique), and the 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 attendance of musician Pedro Espi-Sanchis (South Africa-Spain) has
also been confirmed.

Ten Asian poets will be in Medellín in 2011: 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).

Poets from twelve European countries will read their poems in this new
edition of the Festival, headed by the 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

Guests will be also joined by 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).

Over a thousand poets from 156 nations have already taken part in the
Festival, and poets from Afghanistan, Myanmar and Zanzibar will attend
for the first time

The World Meeting of International Poetry Festival Directors will
address 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 globalization of poetry, and attendance has been
confirmed by representatives of 35 international poetry festivals:
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.

There shall also take place the XV Poetry School of Medellin, which
will hold 29 activities between courses, workshops and conferences, with
free registration, which last year enabled the enrolment of hundreds of
youths. A cycle of seven feature-length African films will also be
shown, and a celebration held for the premiere of the documentary
Resistance Cultures, directed by the Korean Iara Lee.

See for more details.

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