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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