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20 Mar 13

Balkan States Join Global Poetry Celebration

The art of verse will be celebrated across the Balkans with a wide range of readings, competitions, performances and debates to mark the annual World Poetry Day.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade

In almost all of the countries in the region, events will be held this week to mark World Poetry Day, which was established by UNESCO in 1999 as a global celebration of linguistic diversity intended to promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry.

The poetry celebration will take place in Belgrade from March 20 to 22

The biggest celebration in the region will take place in Belgrade from March 20 to 22, while in other countries, events will take place on March 21.

For the 13th time, the programme in the Serbian capital will take place in the Belgrade Cultural Centre, KCB, and will include more than 100 local, regional and international poets. Among the highlights are Orbita, a Russian-Latvian poetry group from Riga, Amir Talic from Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Roland Orcik, Tanja Stupar Trifunovic, Darko Cvijetic and Ivan Pravdic and Alice in Wonderband, who are already well-known to Serbian audiences.

Among the others who will answer the question that the Belgrade event's organisers traditionally post - "What can a poem do?" - will be participants from other poetry festivals and organizations such as Pesnicenje, Treci Trg, Argh! and Poezin.

'Diogenes is Seeking a Human Being' in Sarajevo

The annual poetry day will be also celebrated in several cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Sarajevo, Banjaluka and Zenica.

For several weeks already, the Bosnian capital been hosting its traditional Sarajevo Winter cultural programme that unites various festivals and artistic events and will also this year include a poetry marathon entitled 'Diogenes is Seeking a Human Being'.

The event will bring together an international roster of poets chosen by Sabahudin Hadzialic, a writer and freelance journalist from Sarajevo. Those appearing include Ivan Rajovic (Serbia), Dalila Hiaoui (Marocco), Krystina Lenkowska (Poland), Samira Begman (Switzerland), Jennifer Greene (US), Katlin Kaldmaa (Estonia), Marius Chelaru (Romania), Mexhid Mehmeti (Kosovo), Irena Gjoni (Albania), Giuseppe Napolitano (Italy), Nihad Mesic River (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ali F. Bilir (Turkey) and Franjo Francic (Slovenia).

Serbian poet Rajovic has said he intends to walk from his home town of Kraljevo to Sarajevo in protest because neither the ministry of culture nor the city wanted to finance his trip.

World Poetry Day will be also celebrated on March 21 and 22 in Banja Luka's national and university library, with poets from Kraljevo joining those from the capital of Bosnia's Serb-run entity Republika Srpska.

The 'Goranovo Prolece' (Goran's Spring) festival has taken place in Lukovdol since 1964

Croats traditionally mark the day with a festival dedicated to their own poet Ivan Goran Kovacic (1913-1943), who was born on March 21.

Under the name 'Goranovo Prolece' (Goran's Spring), the festival has taken place in Kovacic's home village of Lukovdol since 1964, where the Goran's Wreath prize is awarded to the best poets.

A somewhat smaller celebration will take place in Sisak, where students of the Viktorovac high school will read poems by famous Croatian poets such as Jozefina Dautbegovic, Marija Cudina, Darije Zilic, Sonje Lovrencic, Tea Rimaj Bencic,  Borisa Marune, Delimira Resicki, Danijel Dragojevic and Arsena Dedic.

The capital of Montenegro is also joining the celebrations

Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, is also joining the celebrations with a public poetry reading on the main Trg Republike square, featuring people who applied online to read out poems.

In the Romanian city of Craiova meanwhile, poet Anton Jurebie will read poems from his latest books 'Against the Total Black' (2011) and 'Biographical Affairs' (2012), while a rich programme including musical performances and debates will be also staged in Ipotesti, where Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), a well-known Romanian Romantic poet, novelist and journalist was born.

As in previous years, World Poetry Day will also be marked with smaller events in Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Macedonia.

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