The Slovenia Times

Poetry & wine festival celebrates 20th anniversary with 20 poets


Poetry readings will be accompanied by several concerts and wine promotion.

The festival that first started in Medana, Goriška Brda, in the west of Slovenia, is organised by publisher Baletrina and cultural association KUD Meridiani.

Today the festival found its haven in the city of Ptuj where it combines poetry, music and good wine. It moreover brings together by thirteen international poetry festivals within a European poetry platform.

What started as a chaotic meeting of poets in the middle of hilly vineyards became one of the biggest internationally acclaimed European poetry festivals, festival director Aleš Šteger said as he looked back at the festival's past.

"It is time to think about the past and build foundations for the future," Šteger, a poet himself, stressed at a news conference in Ljubljana earlier this week.

The festival will feature four guests of honour: one of the most acclaimed poets from South Korea, Ko Un, American poet of Serbian descent Charles Simic, Macedonia's Vlada Urošević and Slovenia's Veno Taufer.

The festival will begin with an international translation workshop that will focus on Canada. Poets George Elliott Clarke, Natasha Kanape Fontaine, Pierre Nepveu and Gillian Sze and their poetry in French and English will be in the centre of the workshop.

Baletrina has moreover published trilingual booklets of poems by Versopolis's guests Croatian Ana Brnardić, German Zehra Cirak, Swedish Ida Linde, Belgian Els Moors, and Norwegian Sigbjorn Skaden.

Initiated by Beletrina, Versopolis is a poetry platform that creates new opportunities for young poets across Europe. It is also a new online literary magazine, The European Review of Poetry, Books and Culture focusing on continental Europe.

Preceding the formal opening of the festival in Ptuj on 24 July will be a day-long boat trip on the Drava river from the Fala power station past the Maribor Water Tower to Ptuj featuring poetry reading and wine tasting.

Wine, poetry and music traditionally go hand in hand. At this year's festival, fifteen wineries from the Štajersko and Primorsko regions will present themselves.

As for the music, Slovenian singers Magnifico, Neisha and Katja Šulc as well as the Austrian quartet Fräulein Hona from Vienna will give concerts.


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