For the living memory of Alberti, Miguel and Neruda
• May 21 - 27 International Poetry Festival in Havana
Madeleine Sautié Rodríguez
"We call upon the world’s poetry festivals to join a powerful poetic action on May 22 to pay tribute to these immortal poets with readings in their honor, giving public performances a new, relevant content. "
Thus reads the declaration issued at a press conference by Havana’s 16th International Poetry Festival, to be celebrated May 21-27, calling on poets and intellectuals around the world to denounce the affront committed by the Spanish government which proposes to erase the names of Rafael Alberti, Miguel Hernández and Pablo Neruda from institutions and streets within the country.
Signed by the poets Aitana Alberti, daughter of Rafael Alberti; Pablo Armando Fernández; Nancy Morejón; César López; Rogelio Martínez Furé; Lina de Feria, Alex Pausides and Luis García Montero, (Spain), the proclamation describes as serious "the attempt to damage, extract, steal from the public imagination any memory of these poets considered among the century’s greats in the Spanish-speaking world." And along with them, that of many who have struggled for a better world.
The Festival looks to reflect the words of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, also cited in the declaration, "Poets, at any time, in any place, are only the humble heartbeat or expression of their peoples." Scheduled to attend are more than 200 bards from 40 countries, among them the Chilean Omar Lara.
One of the outstanding events to take place, among the great variety projected across the country, is World Word, planned in Montreal, Medellín, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Havana’s San Francisco de Asís Basilica, which will include hundreds of international participants.
Also scheduled in the program is the 5th Congress of the Cultural Project South which aspires to foment an alternative route for the creation and dissemination of art committed to the struggle for social justice and freedom of expression in the current hegemonic world.
There will be poetry readings, expositions and concerts in all of Havana’s municipalities and, with the launching of the itinerant community project CubaPoesía, activities will be extended to the provinces of Pinar del Río, Mayabeque, Artemisa, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Holguín.
The World Encounter of Poets for Peace, honoring the centenary of Virgilio Piñera and the awarding of the Wolsan-CubaPoesía Prize, as well as the Rafael Alberti and the Cuba Poesía Distinction, will also be important happenings during the festival.