The Slovenia Times

Poetry and Wine to Take Over Ptuj


The event will host a total of twenty poets from 15 countries writing in 16 languages, festival director Aleš Šteger told the press on Monday.

The program will include presentations of five poets of the Versopolis platform, which currently gathers eleven poetry events and will be joined by two more next year.

"Versopolis will help authors who are known in their home countries spread their poetry across borders," Šteger said.

Currently, a total of 55 poets from eleven European countries are included in the EU-funded platform, which was initiated by the festival organiser, publisher Beletrina.

The Days of Poetry and Wine will kick off on Saturday with a four-day translation workshop, while the bulk of the festival programme will be carried out from 26 to 29 August.

The workshop will host four Dutch-speaking poets, Hester Knibbe and Jan Baeke from the Netherlands and Geert van Istendael and Maud Vanhauwaert from Belgium.

According to Šteger, translation workshops contribute a great deal to introducing foreign poetry to Slovenia and vice versa.

The programme will feature many public readings and debates, including five of the Versopolis poets as well as some private readings in locations that will be revealed at the last moment.

Contemporary Dutch poetry will be in focus this year.

Slovenian poet Milan Dekleva and American C.D. Wright, who will also release her first poetry collection in Slovenian on the occasion, will be this year's honorary guests.

Dekleva will meanwhile issue a bilingual collection of his poems entitled "Darwin gre v jedilnico / Darwin goes dining".

"It is an event of European dimensions and that is why it can work as a magnet in the broader region. Alongside locals, the festival also sees numerous foreign visitors every year. It is internationally known," Šteger told the STA.

"Following our example, festivals in Bulgaria, Austria and Slovakia have come into existence," Šteger said, commenting on combining two different components of the events, which seem to go well hand in hand.

The wine part of the festival will traditionally feature wine tastings at a "wine altar" at one of the city squares.

"I think that the times of strictly oriented festival events have passed. Nowadays, we are all looking for a magic intertwining of different content."

Šteger is aware that an increasing share of cultural events strive to be more sensational and poetry events are no exception "even though its silent characteristics limit it from being such".

However, the Days of Poetry and Wine manage to preserve a good balance between the festival's increasing popularity and the intimate character of poetry, especially in holding private readings in select small venues, Šteger also said.


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