The Medellin International Poetry Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the world, opens today with more than 100 poets from 58 countries bringing their different perspectives to the forum.
The festival runs till July 17 and will include renowned figures such as Nobel Prize nominee Yevgveny Yevtushenko, as well as writers, poets and intellectuals from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania, in what will be a truly international affair.
The opening ceremony is being held at the Cerro Nutibara Thursday and will be followed by 185 events, such as courses, workshops, lectures, debates, films, seminars, and of course, poetry readings.
The festival is in its 20th year and in 2006 won the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, which is given to those “working on practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today,” and is often referred to as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.”
The inaugural festival in 1991 was set against a backdrop of violence, as Medellin’s streets were ravaged with drug-related crime, and has since attempted to bring a “spiritual climate” to the city.
“Although the International Poetry Festival of Medellin cannot achieve peace in Colombia, it can help to reconstruct life from language, contributing in this way to peace and reconciliation,” according to the event’s website.
Admission to all events and activities is free, and organizers are expecting 200,000 people to fill the streets, theaters, libraries, schools and neighborhoods of the festival over the next ten days.
See the festival’s website for more information.