The European Poet of Freedom Literary Festival
From the 19th to the 22nd of March 2020, for the sixth time the city of Gdańsk will hold a literary festival unique on the national scale: European Poet of Freedom celebrates the contemporary poetry of the continent, enables the Polish audience to meet with the authors and draws attention to issues important to the shape and development of poetry. The power of EPoF is its multidimensionality – apart from the biennial festival, each edition of the event enriches the Polish literature with translations of poetry volumes by acclaimed living European poets. Until now, forty six collections have come out, eight of them freshly published. We will meet their authors in March – the author of the best one will receive the European Poet of Freedom Literary Award of the City of Gdańsk (the 21st of March). Believing that poetry is not lost in a (good) translation, EPoF also recognises translators of the nominated volumes, and awards a separate prize to the author of the winning collection’s translation.
Talks, meetings, debates, workshops and an interesting international circle of poets is the key to the programme of this year’s festival. Its authors – Tadeusz Dąbrowski, Weronika Janeczko and Barbara Klicka – strived for strong European themes: the day before the opening of the festival, there will be a meeting dedicated to the anthology of new European poetry titled “Grand Tour” (2019) compiled by Jan Wagner and Federico Italiano. The editors together with several authors will talk about the richness and the directions of development of European poetry. The following day, there will be a debate, in which participants will consider the impact of the crisis of European identity on the poetry of the continent. On the 20th of March we invite all to the Uniwersytet Poezji Europejskiej [University of European Poetry], where poets consociated in the international network called Versopolis will take up the role of lecturers together with their translators.
There will be many more opportunities to meet in the international circle of authors: during the Polish-British meeting titled “Sondy, koncepty, eksperymenty” [“Pops, concepts, experiments”] (the 20th of March) the participants will talk, among others, about an important and interesting issue of balance between the poem’s communicativeness and its experimental form. A mini cycle titled “Scena wiersza” [“The poem’s stage”] (the 20th and the 21st of March) is, on the other hand, an opportunity to meet and talk with poets nominated for the Award; similarly to a poetic-musical presentation titled “Nie jest ciemno, nie jest cicho” [“It’s not dark, it’s not silent”] (the 19th of March) with musical setting prepared by Małgorzata “Tekla” Tekiel and Artur Rumiński.
For those who prefer meetings with simple agenda and really interesting course, we recommend the master lecture by Piotr Sommer (the 19th of March), who – as usual – with intelligence, humour and volubility will talk about the work of a poet and a translator of poetry.
For the youngest audience, there will be poetry workshops prepared by Zuzanna Sala (the 19th and the 20th of March) and classes on the issue of refugees inspired by literature conducted by Natalia Gebert (the 21st of March).
Poets and translators nominated for the Award:
Antoine Cassar (Malta) and Zuzanna Gawron for “Czterdzieści dni” [“Forty days”]
Darko Cvijetić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Miłosz Waligórski for “Gęsia skóra” [“Goosebumps”]
Balša Brković (Montenegro) and Agnieszka Schreier for “Czarne boisko” [“Black Pitch”]
Inga Gaile (Latvia) and Agnieszka Smarzewska for “Wielkanoc” [“Easter”]
Sinéad Morrissey (Northern Ireland) and Magda Heydel for “O równowadze” [“On Balance”]
Jean Portante (Luxembourg) and Wawrzyniec Brzozowski for “Po trzęsieniu” [“After The Earthquake”]
Zwiad Ratiani (Georgia) and Magda Nowakowska for “Tobie wolno” [“Only You Are Allowed”]
Agnė Žagrakalytė (Lithuania) and Agnieszka Rebiałkowska for “Właśnie:” [“Here is:”]
The winners will be chosen by the Jury: Krzysztof Czyżewski – chairman, Paweł Huelle, Zbigniew Mikołejko, Stanisław Rosiek, Anda Rottenberg, Beata Stasińska, Olga Tokarczuk and the not voting jury’s secretary Andrzej Jagodziński.
Previous winners: 2010 – Uładzimir Arłow (Belarus), 2012 – Durs Grünbein (Germany), 2014 – Dorta Jagić (Croatia), 2016 – Ana Blandiana (Romania), 2018 – Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir (Iceland).