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Cosmopoetica Festival

Poetry is alive and well and living in Cordoba. While many ask whether poetry is dying a slow death, Cordoba has created Cosmopoetica. The festival was born out of a love of verse and is taking it to every nook and cranny of the city that has given birth to some of the most important poets of the last century.

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By:  Lakshmi I. Aguirre
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Poetry Festival
2012 Programme
Birth: 2004
Location: Cordoba
Directed by: Joaquín Pérez Azaústre
Stands out for: bringing this lost art back to the city
Did you know? they’ve even taken their poetry to the local prison

There is a resurgence of poetry festivals in Latin America. Meanwhile in Spain, the country that gave birth to Cernuda, Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Alberti, Becquer, Miguel Hernández and Antonio Machado (the list is endless), there are few occasions to enjoy poetry being celebrated as a large-scale party in honour of words. For too many years poetry has been marginalized, under appreciated, as well as overly gloried in certain occasions.

Cosmopoetica is one of the impassioned initiatives in Spain. A poetry festival in Cordoba that takes poetry from the realms of intellectuals and scholars, and turns it on its head into an accessible and cosmopolitan discipline. “Poetry deals with vital human emotions”, explains Manuel Pérez, director of the Festival. “It doesn’t need to be pretentious and open only to a elite group”.

“Cosmopoetica was born out of a special connection Cordoba feels with poetry”, comments Pérez as he lists names from the history of Spanish literature such as Góngora, Ibn Hazm and García Baena, all born in the Andalusian city of Cordoba. Their legacy has provided inspiration to a new wave of poets such as Pablo García Casado, director of the Andalusian Film Archives in Cordoba and Elena Medel, a newcomer on the scene. “Many of them leave their hometown, but there is always a trace of Cordoba in their verse”, explains Pérez, also director of the Candidature of Cordoba as Capital of Culture in 2016.

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Cosmopoetica first appeared on the scene in 2004 as a “meeting point between poetry, the public and some of the most important exponents in the field”, clarifies Pérez. From those humble beginnings Cosmopoetica Festival has evolved to become one of the most important cultural events for the genre. Poetry is the focal point of a over a month of activities and is combined with several other disciplines: “It is not just about poetry: it’s about art, theatre, flamenco, music… It is more than a poetry festival, it’s a cultural festival”, stresses Pérez.

What was already a celebration of the arrival of spring has become a yearly renewal of a programme that never fails to bring with it a group of exceptional poets from Spain and abroad: Pablo García Baena, Juan Gelman, Seamus Heaney, Dario Fo, Ida Vitale, Cristina Peri Rossi, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Álvaro Mutis, Luis García Montero, Carlos Marzal, Ángel González, Benjamín Prado, Félix Grande, Carlos Edmundo de Ory, Chantal Maillard, Ana Rosetti and young poets such as Elena Medel. They come and walk the streets of Cordoba, reciting poetry so that it echos throughout the city, bringing poetry into contact with everyday life. The scope of the festival increases each year, and on the programme you can find activities that include: video and photo-poetry competitions, gastronomy (Dulces versos translated as Sweet verse), poetic puzzles in green zones of the city (Un bosque de versos translated as A forest of verse), workshops, performances, poetry in cinema, sport (in an event called Fútbol y poesía, translated as Football and Poetry), and even an event related to religion (in a cycle of events called Pasión poética, Poetic passion.

It is not in vain that actors such as José Sacristán, and well-known musicians such as Joaquín Sabina, Javier Krahe, Kiko Veneno, Luis Pastor and Luis Eduardo Aute have taken part in the various editions of Cosmopoetica Festival. “Poetry is reaching places it never had before. In the theatre, bars, schools, jails, buses… It is no longer hidden away. It’s jumping the fences of obscurity and leaping out into the public sphere”, comments Pérez.

If the result of all this hard work were just the small publications that are edited each year as a summary of all the invited artists, Cosmopoetica would be worth it. Within the covers of these books poetry reflects on itself, breaks down hierarchies, educates, excites and humanizes readers. Is poetry alive and well, or is it dying a slow death? “It is alive, there is no doubt about that. It is a crucial part of the most intimate side of what it means to be human”, concludes Manuel Pérez. To this he adds a quote from Becquer:

Mientras haya unos ojos que reflejen
los ojos que los miran,

mientras responda el labio suspirando

al labio que suspira,

mientras sentirse puedan en un beso

dos almas confundidas,

mientras exista una mujer hermosa

¡habrá poesía!

While there are eyes to reflect
onlooking eyes.
While breathing lips reply
to lips that breath.

While in a kiss one can feel
two confused souls.
While there still exists a beautiful woman,
there will be poetry!



These books related to Cosmopoetica Festival may interest you.



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El 2 April 2009 a las 10:22 AM, Francisco dijo...

¡Por fin hacen caso a la poesía! Creo que es una de las maneras más sublimes de expresión. Sin duda, me acercaré a Córdoba.

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El 2 April 2009 a las 10:23 AM, Juan Pablo dijo...

Sabina, qué gran poeta. “Ciento volando de catorce” una absoluta maravilla.

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El 2 April 2009 a las 10:26 AM, Frank Evans dijo...

How many of the events would be of interest to someone who doesn’t understand all that much Spanish? I think the concept is incredible, and would love to visit from Scotland.

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El 2 April 2009 a las 12:26 PM, Cecilia Bogaard dijo...

Dear Frank. There are several events in which you can take part even if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch. There are several exhibitions, film screenings and concerts which can be enjoyed in any language. Our recommendations: the Carmen Linares concert, the exhibition Dulces versos (especially if you are travelling with kids). You’re likely to hear poetry in many languages, including English in the event Voces del mundo. Also, don’t miss the films being shown at the Film Archive of Andalusia. To coincide with Cosmopoetica it has organized a special programme: La huella del verso. But best of all, is the chance to enjoy the general atmosphere in Cordoba during the celebrations.

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El 14 April 2009 a las 6:02 PM, Elena dijo...

¡Vaya! La cita de Bécquer no podía ser más acertada. “¡Mientras exista una mujer hermosa / habrá poesía.” ¡Que estamos en los tiempos de la igualdad, don manuel, que ahora hay también hombres hermosos.

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El 15 April 2009 a las 9:31 AM, Lucía dijo...

Tal y como están las cosas, que un hombre como Manuel Pérez esté al mando de un festival cultural de estas características es toda una suerte. Pocos pueden citar a poetas y creo que los versos de Becquer son preciosos. La poesía va más allá de la igualdad, es algo más profundo que desde luego nunca debería entender lo políticamente correcto. Tampoco hubiera quedado muy bien que el propio Sr. Pérez hubiera hablado de hombres hermosos -por lo que sé de él-. Me encantaría que alguien me recitara ese poema. Y desde luego en lo último que pensaría es en la igualdad, que no tiene absolutamente nada que ver. ¡Un poco más de sensibilidad por favor!

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El 23 March 2011 a las 6:24 AM, Manuel Miguel Carbonell Lorente dijo...

Muy interesante el certamen y muy buenos todos los poetas. Son muchos y muy difícil la selección, ya lo se pero…¿cuándo podremos contar con la participación de Joan Manuel Serrat y, puestos a sugerir, la asistencia y audición de Leonard Cohen?

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El 23 March 2011 a las 10:16 AM, Lakshmi I. Aguirre dijo...

Pues sí, ya han llevado a Sabina, así que supongo que Serrat estará al caer. ¡Leonard Cohen sería la bomba!

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El 30 March 2011 a las 6:37 PM, Posicionamiento Web Granada dijo...

Enorme festival. Me quedo con Alejandro Jodorowsky, más que poeta por excéntrico genio creador y por su karma.

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El 30 March 2011 a las 6:49 PM, Artes plasticas dijo...

Bravo por Córdoba. Gigante festival. Si otro año llevan a Cohen, bajo para el sur.

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