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. This year is the 18th festival and its theme is No Man is an Island (Žadný člověk není ostrov). 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.
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.
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, Slovenia, Hungary, 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.
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.
This year we will launch a new project – Poezie pro čekajíci (Poetry for People Waiting) – within the festival. It involves providing poetry brochures to places where people wait (hospitals, official offices etc.) and a poetry reading/launch will be held in the waiting room of Prague’s Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion as part of the Den poezie programme on 14.11.2016.
Readings are in Czech or in another language with Czech translation. There is one event in English this year:
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Scottish poet Alan Spence – Poetry as Mantra
Poetry reading by leading Scottish poet Alan Spence who will also talk on the work of Sri Chinmoy and ‘Poetry as Mantra’.
Library of Anglo-American University, Letenská 5, 118 00, Prague 1, free entry
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.
Please contact us if you would like to join in the festival next year. Our deadline for submitting information about your event is September 15th. If you have any questions you can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organiser website: www.spolecnostpoezie.cz