When organizers of the eighth annual International Poetry Festival in Costa Rica began brainstorming for a theme, they did not have to look far, unfortunately. With violence escalating around the world and at home – particularly after the murder of Costa Rican journalist and poet Julio Acuña last July – they decided to dedicate the festival to peace.
“We are worried about violence. In last year’s festival, we created the Manifesto for Peace; however, with the death of our dearly remembered friend, Julio Acuña, we want to make our position against violence more apparent,” Paola Valverde, general coordinator of the festival, said in a statement.
Featuring 17 poets from 14 countries, the May 8 to 18 festival will take place in San José and eight other locations throughout the country. Poetry readings, lectures and meet-and-greets with the poets are among the many activities planned, beginning with an opening ceremony in San José’s Plaza de la Democracia May 8 at 7 p.m.
Outside of San José, the festival will launch with a welcome dinner May 12 at the chamber of commerce in the Caribbean port city of Limón.
“Limón has been a province abandoned by most of the governments of this country,” Valverde said. “If we want to decentralize poetry and fight against violence, we have to build a channel to this province, beginning with bringing the festival to the area.”
Books featuring collected works of the 17 invited poets will be on sale for ¢1,500 ($2.70) in an effort to make poetry more accessible, organizers said. To that end, the festival will also feature events at prisons, orphanages and homes for the elderly to reach out to communities not usually well versed in poetry.
For a program of events, see the TT Calendar pages, or visit www.redcultura.com for more information.