What’s the future of poetry? ~ conclusions from the Belgrade Poetry Festival 2016

svetski dan poezije

This year I happened to be in Belgrade while traditional poetry ceremony “World Poetry Day(s) 2016” was taking place. This event has been organized by the Belgrade Cultural Center and it was announced that this year’s festival will be dedicated to the relationship between contemporary poetry and society, and the possibility of cooperation of poets, visual artists, and film and theater authors.

Under the name “Republic of Poetry” festival has demonstrated that poetry has once again become an autonomous symbolic territory within which it is possible to develop creative potentials in the wider field of poetry practice.

The festival hosted many diverse participants from around the world like: Jerome Rothenberg, Gerhard Falkner, Maria Grazia Kalandrone, Jaka Zeleznikar, Ursula Kiesling and many others.

Through performances and debates, festival has proven that poetry hasn’t been immune to the phenomenon of globalization and that it is transforming poetry extensively in comparison to previous decades. One of the main conclusions of the festival is that poetry is turning again to experiment, revitalizing thus historical avant garde and neo-avant garde. Poets and artists do have a need for more complex response to  the events we are all exposed to and in order to share their experiences they strive to multimedia expressions combining different resources. As a result, the prevailing poetic practices are transforming under this occurrence. Poets are incorporating some structural elements of other art forms (music, visual arts, theater and dance) while erasing the visible bounders among artistic expressions. Some new literary phenomena are emerging, such as new media poem, which is being created with help of new technologies. Also, the transnational poetic practice can be seen today as one of those emancipatory practices, even though is on the margins of the cultural scene.

Part of festival program was performed on some unconventional locations in Belgrade like clubs, city streets and public transport – with aim to promote more poetry among citizens.

Great focus has been also on discussions about poetry like it’s relations to politics and aesthetics and where is the place of feminism and women’s voices in poetry.

This festival as it tried to answer some questions, it has also opened many new discussions that need to be addressed in the future.

What are your thoughts on future of poetry?

In the Silver Mines

Life in the silver mines nears its end
and soon the time will come
for everyone to take responsibility
for what they didn’t say
the people passing by
touched my cotton shirts
swinging on the line
and my window smashed a thousand times
and Franz Kafka
who sat next to me
in the classroom overlooking the playground
I remember him each time
I fall drunk upon a feather pillow
and put my arms around the fields of grain
swaying in the wind
silently and soundlessly
I will escape people one day
into the forest
that will never become a flooring mill
into the sky
sending rain for eyelashes stuck shut

Zvonko Karanovic


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9 thoughts on “What’s the future of poetry? ~ conclusions from the Belgrade Poetry Festival 2016

  1. Just thinking from the point of view of poets who are not trying to make a living or serious money with their work: I think one of the upsides of the internet is that people who write poetry feel they can find an audience for their work and thus more motivated to endeavor down this past. In past, the only hope was getting the rare journal acceptance (usually in journal read by few people), local zines, or at local poetry open mike session should the person be lucky enough to live in an area with such events. Through social media networking for poets added to this and I see a brighter future for poetry (this includes the global sharing of poetry that was probably much more limited in the pre-internet days

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s quite true. Not only is technology influencing how we are producing poetry, but also how it is published and reaching readership. Internet will have a huge impact especially in crowd funding area.As such vehicle it will also contribute to better dissemination of poetry which deals with specific taboo topics. I presume it will encourage dialog and communication among diverse groups – what at least I hope for. Thank you for your insightful comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would like to see poetry move back to poetry. Real poetry is concerned with words and not ideas, the words ideas are made of. Too much of the poetry I come across is prose statements written as a column of short lines to look like a poem, with musical I can read/hear. Metrical verse, rhymed or blank can make a very powerful statement if done correctly. Free verse can if there is “music,” a rhythm even if not formal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that traditional forms of poetry are always going to be present, yet with new generations it’s inevitable that young artists will explore and experiment with different expressions. We will see where the merge of ‘new and old’ will take us. 🙂 Thank you Alan for sharing your thoughts.


      1. I am interested in other forms of expression, and I admire anyone who can combine visual with writing skills. As for me, I can write or I can write and I do a bit of writing. But to be poetry, I think there should be a definite music to the lines. I do tend to be a bit curmudgeonly, I admit. At least I’m old enough for that to fit.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s good to hear poetry is once again becoming a dynamic creative platform. For a while it seemed to have stagnated. The advent of greater technology and of course the vast and glorious internet have opened up new ways of being creative in all its forms. It’s an exciting time to be a creator. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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