- Den poezie is an annual international and multicultural poetry festival held for two weeks every November around the birth anniversary (16.11.1810) of the great Czech Romantic poet, K.H. Mácha. It is the most widespread poetry event in the country with events now taking place in around 60 Czech cities, towns and villages. Almost all the events are free. This year’s Den poezie runs from 12th – 26th November and its theme is Labryrint světa / Labyrinth of the World (after the work of the great Czech humanist and educator, Jan Amos Komenský – Comenius.
- In the 2017 programme there were two events in English – on Tuesday, 14th November at 7 pm in the library of Anglo-American University, Letenská 5, Prague 1 there was a reading by poets Stephan Delbos (US) and Jane Kirwan (UK), who read their own poems, and the Irish poet Justin Quinn read from his new translation of the works of Czech poet, Bohuslav Reynek, The Well of Morning. David Vaughan of Czech Radio moderated. The second event took place on Tuesday, 21st November at 7 pm in the Literary cafe Řetězova, Řetězova 10, Prague 1 when Scottish poet, novelist and playwright Alan Spence, recently appointed ‘Makar’ of Edinburgh, read his poetry.
- Den poezie first took place on just one day in 1999, and marked the launch of a Poezie pro cestujíci (Poetry on the Metro) project initiated by the festival founder, the Literary and Cultural Club 8 (Renata Bulvová and Bernie Higgins). The festival is now coordinated by the Poetry Society (Společnost poezie), a small group of people involved in literature/teaching who work as volunteers to organise events and promote interest in poetry. Year by year, the length of the festival extended, as more and more organisations and towns participated, until it reached its current two-week duration.
Map of participating towns in 2017:
- As well as readings by well-known Czech poets, such as Kateřina Rudčenková, Sylva Fischerová, Petr Borkovec, Petr Král etc, thanks to the support of various foreign cultural institutes the festival has also featured leading poets from abroad, e.g. from Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, the Iceland, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Ireland, the UK and many other countries. The festival also celebrates poetry from the Czech Republic in languages other than Czech, e.g. in Lusatian and Romani. Readings are in Czech or in another language with Czech translation.
- Events are organised by schools, libraries, universities, literary groups, clubs, theatres, museums and individuals as well as by the main coordinators of the festival, Společnost poezie, who organise a central programme and coordinate publicity for all the national events. The regional reach of Den poezie is important and the festival aims to inspire the widest possible involvement, encouraging the celebration of poetry in many forms – not only through readings, but through music, theatre, art, film and ‘happenings’. We consider one of the festival’s strengths to be its range of participation, from well-known, published Czech and foreign poets to schoolchildren learning to enjoy and create poetry for the first time.
- In 2016, the festival saw the launch of a new project, Poezie pro čekajíci (Poetry for People Waiting). It involves providing poetry brochures to places where people wait (hospitals, official offices etc.)
- Readings are in Czech or in another language with Czech translation.
- The Poetry Day festival is mainly supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Prague Town Hall. Foreign cultural institutes in the Czech Republic give support by sponsoring the participation of poets from their countries. A number of smaller organisations support us mainly through providing publicity. The festival also receives good press coverage, in local and national newspapers, radio and television.
- Our deadline for submitting information about events is September 15th each year.
Organiser website: www.spolecnostpoezie.cz