The Slovenia Times

Festival of poetry and wine celebrating 25th anniversary


Ptuj - The city of Ptuj will host the 25th Days of Poetry and Wine from 24 to 28 August. Czech and Portuguese poets Petr Borkovec and Ana Luisa Amaral will be the guests of honour and the Open Letter to Europe will be written and read by German poet Durs Grünbein.

Despite the constraints of Covid-19, this year the festival is strongly development-oriented, poet Aleš Šteger, the festival's director, told the press last week.

"Twenty-five years sounds vehement, yet at the same time we all feel that we've not yet arrived where we wanted and that the festival is in progress, changing, growing."

The jubilee will be marked by a special meeting of directors of some 20 festivals of poetry, while featuring 35 poets from 20 countries.

The official opening is planned for Thursday evening at the main venue - Ptuj's renovated marketplace, where Grünbein will read the Open Letter to Europe, to be followed by poetry readings by Olga Stehlikova, Philipp Hager, Lily Michaelides, Peter Semolič, Linda Maria Baros and Claudio Pozzani.

"Grünbein has penned a letter reflecting on support for the European idea when forces sceptical of, or even negative about European integration are getting stronger," said Šteger.

The main venue will feature poetry readings and several concerts in the evenings, while festival events will take place at almost 40 locations around the country's oldest city as well as in several other towns in Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.

One of the highlights will be Saturday's Promenade of Taste in the city centre where festival goers will have an opportunity to enjoy local wines and foods.

"The idea is to invite people for a walk with a glass of wine. Our goal is to elevate the culture of wine drinking to the level it deserves," said Slavko Podbrežnik, head of the Salon Sauvignon festival of art and wine.

On Wednesday a special online campaign dubbed Share a Light will be launched encouraging people to share poetry. "This is a kind of a digital map without borders being drawn. Every contribution turns on a small light with a message of hope," said Šteger.

The closing event on Saturday will feature poetry by Maja Vidmar, Dennis Maloney, Josep Pedrals, Hila Lahav and Petr Borkovec.

Pre-festival events started last week with a concert by Slovenian pop singer Magnifico at the Dominican Monastery in Ptuj, while the streets of Ljubljana are hosting poetry readings by poets from around Europe today.


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