It is a great honour for us that due to Ars Poetica’s nomination for the Versopolis project, Slovakia had a representative at Struga Poetry Evenings 2016, a distinguished international poetry festival in Macedonia. The poet Mária Ferenčuhová wrote the following words about her participation at the oldest festival of poetry…
Struga Poetry Evenings is one of the oldest European poetry festivals. It connects intimacy and grandeur in an impressive way. The 55th festival began with a grand opening including fireworks and a public reading to a hall packed with 500 people, and it ended on a majestic stage built on a bridge above the Drina River. However, in between these two events the Struga Poetry Evenings festival managed to bring together over thirty poets from all over the world, enabling them to experience the intense feeling of being a firmly united yet free community.
Another very meaningfully crafted experience was the meeting of the poets from the Versopolis platform and the professionals from the field of poetry. It was a poetry reading and a discussion merged together and the discussions went on long after the event was over thanks to the fact that Struga Poetry Evenings festival made sure to create a continuity of program for their participants with transfers to different historically and touristically attractive sites on the bank of the Orchid Lake.
Mária Ferenčuhová (third from the left), Struga Poetry Evenings 2016
Poetry festivals are a showcase of the organizers’ taste. Struga Poetry Evenings has set the bar high, and it is also famous for its openness towards different approaches to writing poetry. Editorial activity is just as esteemed at the festival: they publish a catalogue, which is essentially an anthology of contemporary poetry, and several other multilingual publications. This year, for instance, they published a selection of poems by Margaret Atwood, the 2016 Golden Wreath Award laureate (the Golden Wreath being the official festival award).
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Struga Poetry Evenings 2016 was among the most intense experiences of my poetic year!
– Mária Ferenčuhová