22 August 2009

Struga Poetry Evenings

48th Struga Poetry Evenings (SPE) - the most prestigious international poetry manifestation in Macedonia - will be opened Thursday evening in Struga at a ceremony, which will include a traditional recital of the poem T'ga za jug (Longing for The South), concert by pianist Simon Trpceski and the international poetry recital named "Poetry Meridians". This year's SPE laureate is Slovene poet Tomaz Salamun, who has already arrived in Struga and is scheduled on Thursday to plant a tree in the Park of Poetry and to hold a press conference.
The formal opening will be followed by the annual Nights without Punctuation multimedia artistic event featuring experimental forms of poetic presentations, where Senegal author Ousmane Sarr-Sarrouss will be presented. He is the winner of this year SPE and UNESCO award Bridges of Struga for the best first poetry book by young author.
The Struga poetry festival, which will run till Aug. 23, will be attended by 75 foreign poets from 50 countries worldwide. SPE's activities were kicked off yesterday when flowers were laid in front of the Miladinovci brothers' memorial house. This year's symposium, dedicated to "Poetry and Music", is scheduled for August 21. SEP will in addition mark the 100 anniversary of the birth of Nikola Jonko Vapcarov (1909-2009). The festival's programme also includes an "Evening of Norwegian Poetry", promotion of 10 books of Macedonian poets, translated in English language.
The closing ceremony "Mostovi" (Bridges), held at the Bridge of Poetry on the river Drim in Struga including poetry readings and the awarding ceremony, will be held on August 23. Another event in the so called Caravan of Poetry, which consists of poetry performances around the country. Usually, after the end of the Festival, poetry readings are being organized in several cities across Macedonia.
The last event takes place in the country's capital, Skopje, where 2009 laureate Salamun will be declared as an honorary member of the Macedonian Poetry Association. Tomaz Salamun is a Slovenian poet. He was born in 1941 in Zagreb, Croatia, and raised in Koper, Slovenia. He has published 30 collections of poetry in his native Slovenian language. Salamun spent two years at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop in the 1970s and has lived for periods of time in the United States since then. For a time, he served as Cultural Attaché to the Slovenian Embassy in New York. He has had ten collections of poetry published in English, including The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun (Ecco Press, 1998); The Shepherd, the Hunter (Pedernal, 1992); The Four Questions of Melancholy (White Pine, 1997); Feast (Harcourt, 2000), "Poker" (Ugly Duckling), "Row!" (Arc Publications), "The Book for My Brother" (Harcourt), and "Woods and Chalices" (Harcourt). He lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is married to the painter Metka Krasovec.
SEP was launched in 1962 with a series of readings by a number of Macedonian poets in honor of the two brothers, Konstantin and Dimitar Miladinov, great intellectuals, teachers, and writers, born in Struga in the beginning of 19th century. Konstantin Miladinov has been considered the founder of modern Macedonian poetry and each year the festival officially opens with his memorable poem "Longing for the South" (T'ga za jug) written during his student days in Moscow. For the last 47 years the festival has welcomed about 4,000 poets, translators, essayists and literary critics from 95 countries.

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