Moscow's Second International Festival of Poets will be held October 16-20, 2001 under the aegis of the Moscow city government and the Moscow City Duma. The festival is sponsored by the Creative Projects Foundation, the Russian PEN Center, and the literary journals Arion and Znamya. Support for the festival has been provided by the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, the embassies of Belgium, Canada, Lithuania, Madagascar, France and Sweden, the French Cultural Center in Moscow, the Russian Academy of Sciences, The Babylon young writers union, the International Literary Fund, the Association of French Teachers, the Proekt O.G.I. club and the Vsevolod Meyerhold Center.
The three programs at this year's festival reflect the diverse world of contemporary poetry.
The Stars of the Russian provinces program testifies to Moscow's sincere and abiding interest in the work of authors who reside outside the two traditional capitals of the country, i.e. Moscow and St.Petersburg. Poets will converge on Moscow from Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg, Saratov and Samara, from the town of Gulkevichi in the Krasnodar region, and from the farming community of Vesyoly in the Rostov region. As part of this program the organizers will present a new anthology, "Nestolichnaya literatura" (Literature From Outside the Capitals), which features the work of 163 writers from 50 different Russian cities. And for the very first time we will present the "Moscow-Transit" award to provincial writers in two categories. The grand prize will be presented to an established poet for the entirety of his contribution to Russian letters; the "little" prize will go to a promising poet under 35.
The Franco-Russian program, A Dialogue Among Languages and Poets, will bring francophone poets from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Madagascar to Moscow. This is in the best tradition of Russian literature. French poetry was of utmost importance to the development of its Russian counterpart during the Pushkin era, as well as during the Silver Age. It also demonstrates the openness of contemporary Russian poetry to dialogue and mutual enrichment. Russian poets will read alongside their French colleagues; after all, French motifs are frequently encountered in Russian poetry. Festival participants will take part in a round-table discussion focused on the life of francophone poetry above and beyond national boundaries.
The program 21st Century Classics is dedicated to the twenty-something generation of poets. This program will feature young poets from Moscow, St.Petersburg, Voronezh, Yekaterinburg and other Russian cities, as well as from Sweden, Lithuania and Georgia. These poets will be invited to take part in a discussion of the concept of a "literary generation" - its integrity, limits, and how the situation in Russia compares with that in other countries. The organizers will also present an anthology titled "Tak nachinayut zhit stikhom" (Thus Begins Their Life in Poetry), a collection of poems written by Moscow schoolchildren.
A fourth program, Poets In the Schools, continues a tradition established at the first Moscow poetry festival two years ago. All participating poets will visit local schools to read their poetry, talk about their work, and answer questions. The need for programs of this type is clear. The rupture between contemporary literature and today's young people could result in an absence of adult readers, threatening the very future of literature.
A number of other poetry-related events will take place outside the official program, including:
The Festival events will take place at Moscow literary clubs, museums, cultural centres, libraries, universities etc. At the end of the day all the participants will meet at "Project O.G.I." club which is the most popular meeting place for Moscow artists and writers.
The festival's grand opening and presentation of the "Moscow-Transit" grand prize will take place Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Vsevolod Meyerhold Center.
A press conference to be held October 9 at 3 p.m. in the Moscow City Duma, Ulitsa Petrovka, 22.
Festival President - Yevgeny Bunimovich.