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21 March
2019

The Miłosz Festival entitled ”The Usurpers”!

The coming 8th Miłosz Festival will host the most outstanding poets from around the world and, as always, will accurately refer with its title to the work of its eminent patron. Between June 6 and 9 Krakow will again become the centre of what is considered new and exciting in contemporary poetry.

„The Usurpers” is the title of the first novel by Czesław Miłosz, and, at the same time, the motto of this year’s edition of the Festival. Authors‘ meetings, panel debates, educational workshops nd concerts – a total of several dozen events that make up the rich program of the  Festival. „The Usurpers” – a novel unmasking the mechanisms of Stalinist power – is a universal work that goes far beyond the historical context of the era. It tells us about gaining symbolic power – about imposing the way of thinking about reality and the language with which we interpret the phenomena occurring in it.

Our present day, especially in the global dimension, seems to be a game of narrative and a scuffle in which various stories simplifying the depth of experiencing the world compete to gain the power over the imagination of an individual. They also create censorship and self-censorship pressure, the coupling of which can be observed in the language we speak of the world – as Krzysztof Siwczyk, Artistic Director of the Festival, announces. In the 8th edition of the Miłosz Festival we shall look closer at these stories: together with the guests from Poland and from all over the world we shall interpret and critically dismantle them. The social organism is a cauldron full of aggression driven by fake news, propaganda language and simplifying brevity of the social media message. The excess of information, from which nothing is cohesive or common to all of us, is gradually becoming the centre of power. Between June 6 and 9 poetry will have its say – as one of the few bastions of resistance to banality and chaos.

Culture should not only organise general imagination; it is also supposed to be democratic and hospitable, and these requirements are directly reflected in this year’s program of the Miłosz Festival. For four days of June Krakow will turn into a poetic haven for outstanding artists from various linguistic and cultural areas. They will come to share their experiences gained in places where the fate of our common Europe is being determined, where there is censorship depriving people of their freedom, where violence rules or an armed conflict is in progress. Simon Armitage (Great Britain), Tatev Chakhian (Armenia), Saleh Diab (Syria), Ferida Duraković (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Elena Fanailova (Russia), Athena Farrokhzad (Sweden), Tomas Venclova (Lithuania), Denise Riley (Great Britain) – they are some of those the Krakow audience will meet. For those who are seeking experiment, performance and the voice of a younger generation in poetry, the organisers have prepared, as every year, the OFF edition – this year focused on the issues of revolution, violence and artistic ways of buidling resistance.

Among the guests from Poland we will see, e.g.: laureate of Wisława Szymborska Award, at the same time a translator of American poetry, Krystyna Dąbrowska; Piotr Florczyk, poet, essayist, laureate of prestigious American awards for translations of poems by Anna Świrszczyńska; Magdalena Kicińska, who made her debut with a poetry book „Środki transportu”, although very well-known to the readers as the author of the famous „Pani Stefa”; Maciej Melecki, poet co-founder of the Mikołowski Institute, co-writer of the film „Wojaczek”; Antoni Pawlak, publicist, author of 20 poetry books, a long-standing spokesman for the Mayor of Gdańsk; Uta Przyboś, poet and painter, laureate of Cyprian Kamil Norwid Award, and at the same time a daughter of one of the most outstanding Polish poets of the 20th century, Julian Przyboś; Alicja Rosé, poet and illustrator and Tomasz Różycki, poet, essayist, laureate of the Kościelski Prize.

Power comes and goes, but what is good at the Miłosz Festival remains unchanged. We proudly present  new volumes of the works of our foreign guests translated into Polish, which will be prepared especially for the Festival. This time the organisers have invited the following publishing houses: Wydawnictwo Pogranicze, Wydawnictwo Lokator, Instytut Mikołowski, Dom Literatury w Łodzi, Wydawnictwo J and Wydawnictwo a5. Once again, during the Festival, the Wisława Szymborska Award will be presented for the author of the best poetry book in the preceding year.

Let us give in to the power of poetry and together, let us make the Festival a truly hospitable home, a forum for the dialogue of many languages and views of the world – already at the second weekend of June. Miłosz Festival rules!

The organisers of the Festival are: The City of Krakow, the Krakow Festival Office and the City of Literature Foundation.