Monday, August 06, 2012
Struga Poetry Evenings [Poesia ao Final das Tardes] - Mais antigo Festival Internacional de Poesia
Struga Poetry Evenings (SVE) (Macedonian: Струшки Вечери на Поезијата, СВП; tr. Struški Večeri na Poezijata, SVP) is an international poetry festival held annually in Struga, Republic of Macedonia. During the several decades of its existence, the Festival has awarded its most prestigious award, the Golden Wreath, to some of the most notable international poets, including: Mahmoud Darwish, W. H. Auden, Joseph Brodsky, Allen Ginsberg, Bulat Okudzhava, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Artur Lundkvist, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Nichita Stănescu, Ted Hughes, Makoto Ooka, Miroslav Krleža, Yehuda Amichai, Seamus Heaney and domestic authors such as Blaže Koneski.
The festival began in 1962 in Struga, then People's Republic of Macedonia with Macedonian poets only, while in 1963 it expanded its list of participants with poets from all around the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Miladinov Brothers Award was established for a best poetry book published between two consecutive festivals. By 1966 the event turned into an international cultural festival. The Golden Wreath international award was established in the same year and its first recipient was Robert Rozhdestvensky. Two years later, in a close cooperation with UNESCO, the Festival established another international award called The Bridges of Struga, for a best debut poetry book by a young author. During its long successful existence, the festival has hosted about 4,000 poets, translators, essayists and literary critics from about 95 countries of the world.
The festival has awarded some of the world's most eminent literary figures, including several Nobel Prize for Literature winners such as Joseph Brodsky, Eugenio Montale, Pablo Neruda and Seamus Heaney, the first African member of the French Academy Léopold Sédar Senghor who was also a President of Senegal, the official royal Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, W. H. Auden who is regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and many others.
A point of interest is that the festival often awarded foreign poets who were considered dissidents in their countries, including for example the Russian exiled poet Joseph Brodsky, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, the American beatnik Allen Ginsberg, the Soviet bard Bulat Okudzhava and many others.
In memory of the laureates, the Park of Poetry featuring memorial boards dedicated to each of them was established near the Struga Cultural Center.