With the traditional lighting of the Poetry Fire, at Hotel Drim’s summer terrace in Struga, North Macedonia, the Struga Poetry Evenings international poetry festival was opened yesterday evening. The inauguration of the 60th edition of the renown festival took place in presence of numerous poets from North Macedonia and many other countries, as well as government officials and poetry fans.
At the start of the opening of the festival, Jovan Strezovski, poet, writer and former director of the Struga Poetry Evenings, had a narrative expose, accentuating the festival’s history, its creation, course and growth.
The Minister of Culture of North Macedonia, Irena Stefoska, also addressed the attendees, with a speech in acrostic of the “T’ga za Jug” poem by Konstantin Miladinov. In a video address, this year’s laureate, British poetess Carol Ann Duffy, announced her physical attendance at the festival’s next edition, in 2022.
“In these grim, dark times for the world, I am overwhelmed to find at my door the light of a Golden Wreath. To have my name added to a list of poets who have meant so much to me throughout my reading and writing life is an extraordinary gift for which I will be forever grateful. In the past 18 months, the expression “I’m speechless” has gained a new meaning for me as a poet, so this lovely award coming from Struga elevated my spirit and I’m joyful that I’m welcomed by this huge Macedonian tradition of poetry appreciation. I first attended the poetry readings in Struga 30 years ago, as a relatively new poetess in the days before the mobile phones, the social media and the Internet’s Pandora box. The world then was indeed different and the poems that were read at the Bridge of Poetry didn’t need to be shouted loud in order to be heard over the constant noise that, unfortunately, is well known to us now. But your festival and its Golden Wreath endure and remind us that the poetry must survive, which is what happenes, Carol Ann Duffy said in her video addres.
The evening continued with the international event “Poetic Meridians”, with the participation of many of the foreign guests.
The festival’s program, starting from 2019, is completely broadcasted live on the festival’s official YouTube channel which will help reach a wider auditorium.
Struga Poetry Evenings festival will end on the 30th of August and this year, the festival’s motto is “Elevated Testimonies, Exalted Verses” which stresses the significance of the Park of the Poetry and the symbolism of planting a tree on part of the laureates each year. This is an act that symbolizes the festival’s growth.