An evening of poetry (and not oh-no-etry)

3 Jul

Last evening was the opening of the 21st International Poetry Festival of Medellín and it was a wonderful experience. Poets from all over–Turkey, Afghanistan, South Africa, Mozambique, South America, etc–participated in the opening night’s festivities. The past five years of the festival have been characterized by torrential downpours, and we were glad not to have to experience that in the open-air theatre.

There were two general highlights of the event. The first was a fire during the reading of Kamran Mir Hazar. He was the penultimate poet of the evening, and during his reading an electrical fire broke out on one side of the stage. The entire amphitheater was thrust into darkness. The lights never came back on, but they were able to shine a spotlight on the stage so that people could read the translations for the crowd. Almost nobody left.

The second highlight was the closing act, Chiwoniso Maraire. She played a traditional Zimbabwean instrument and sang her poetry, with a woman translating during the bridges. It was, plainly, magical. I’ll embed the video when I can get Greg to upload the file.

Two other poets who were notable were Ataol Behramoglu and Zakaria Mohammed. Their poems–from what I could understand from the Spanish translations–were great, but more importantly they had the performance part of it down. This was no Shatner-esque reading of poetry; it was an honest performance of the poem itself, with passion, sincerity and humility. They also had a wonderful rapport with their Spanish translators, who followed their readings (in Turkish/Arabic, respectively) with a Spanish translation.

After the performance–which was on top of a mountain–we walked to the very apex of the compound for an amazing view of the city at night. During the day, Medellín sprawls out in all directions up the steep sides of the Andes. In the evening, the lights of the city from the top of Pueblita Paisa were jaw-dropping. The city seems to never end.

Today has been a lazy, lazy Sunday, with on exception: the grenadilla. In this edition of “fruit or foe?”, meet the grenadilla. It’s tasty enough, but the consistency leaves something to be desired. Think of it more like “Angel Snot”.

All for now! We’re doing well and getting by, but missing all of you.




One Response to “An evening of poetry (and not oh-no-etry)”

  1. Lea Anthony July 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Sounds like a wonderful and eventful evening. Great you both can experience events such as this. There is art happening everywhere.

    Mommy says, “eat your fruit, even if it is grenedilla, with the consistency of Angel Snot”

    Oh, btw, Nick and Dad are in the garage tring to put to gather a 563 piece BBQ for the 4th of July. They sound like the 3 stooges minus 1 because every now and then I hear “Did you loose a nut?..That piece does not go there, this is too heavy, crap, WTF?”

    I think I will be eating yogurt.
    Enjoy your grenedilla. Kiss Kiss Hug Hug, Mom

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