The Balcans

The participation of foreign authors has been a long-standing Poetry Days tradition. The collection of authors included each year is assembled according to various principles and also just by fortunate happenstance and coincidences connected with our own authors. In order to gain a more concentrated impression of events occurring in the world of poetry in places far away from Latvia, the Poetry Days organisers give this part of the celebration a different focus each year, to promote new poetry translations and to introduce the poetry audience in Latvia to important authors from other countries.

In 2018, in honour of the centenaries of their statehood, the Poetry Days celebration focused on authors from the three Baltic countries. Familiarising oneself with the work of contemporary Lithuanian and Estonian poets is of clear importance. For this reason, the Poetry Days organisers decided to have a separate Baltic States Evening each year, which would also include authors from other countries. This year’s visitors will include poets from the Balkan region: Albanian Parid Teferiçi, Macedonian Gjoko Zdraveski, and Serbian Petar Matovič together with poetry translators Dens Dimiņš, Ingmāra Balode, and Arvis Viguls.

The Balkan region consists of cultures and nations, which have about as much differentiating them as they have in common. The 20th century history of this region can still sometimes make the relationships between its countries and nations complex. However, culture is a field which holds the greatest possibilities for representing diversity as well as envisioning a shared future which is composed of all of these many different diverse elements. Of course, three voices are not enough to represent everything occurring in the poetry of this region. However, three voices are more than none at all, and these are surely enough to begin a conversation that will continue into the future.