This year is the 15th year of the Poetry Day Festival, whose theme this year is Vášeň a popel (Passion and Ashes). Den poezie is an annual 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.
Den poezie first took place on just one day in 1999 and marked the launch of a 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 who work as volunteers to promote interest in poetry. Year by year, the length of the festival has extended as more and more organisations and towns participate.
As well as readings by well-known Czech poets, such as Zbyněk Hejda, Kateřina Rudčenková, Josef Hrubý, and Petr Borkovec, thanks to the support of various foreign cultural institutes the festival has also featured leading poets from abroad, e.g. from Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Russia, France, Spain, Ireland, the UK and many others. The festival also celebrates poetry from the Czech Republic in languages other than Czech, e.g. in Lusatian and Romani.
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.
The Poetry Day festival is mainly supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Prague Town Hall, and 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.
Festival website: www.denpoezie.cz
Organiser website: www.spolecnostpoezie.cz
Twitter: @denpoezie year of the Poetry Day Festival, whose theme this year is Vášeň a popel