Patras World Poetry Festival 2021

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4th “Patras World Poetry Festival 2021

13th - 19th of December


This year, the 4th “Patras World Poetry Festival” boasts a variety of original literary events taking place between the 13th and 19th of December 2021, hosting a total of 70 poets from 20 different countries.

The occasion of a calendar year combining on one hand the memory of the Greek people’s fight for freedom, and on the other hand the contemporary experience of confinement, led us to this year’s thematic center: “CONFINEMENT-FREEDOM-HUMAN REVOLUTIONS”. We bring novel aims and ideas, along with a greater and more essential need for expression, synergy and communication.

For 2021, the festival’s programme will be extended from 4 days to 7, hosting a multitude of events for audiences and participants both Greek and foreign, raising the bar and aiming to establish a tradition of cultural celebration.

This year too, for its most part, the Festival will be held online, a blended programme combining physical and online activities as adjusted to Covid-19 regulations, in a shifting terrain of cultural events during the pandemic.

The events of the week’s programme will take place in three (3) different places in Patras, each one of them a space for hosting cultural events. The events will be broadcasted ONLINE on the website including both main and side events:

Main Events:

  • 15th-18th December 2021

Five (5) Online Poetry Meetings including Readings and Roundtables: There will be lecterns where the guest poets will be presented; their works will be read (in 2 languages). The guest poets will also participate in the roundtables and discuss topics revolving around poetry and criticism.

  • 18th December 2021

Online Award Ceremony for the Greek “Jean Moréas” Poetry Award for 2021: The annual ceremony for the “Jean Moréas” Awards for Greek poetic art and production in its entire spectrum.

  • 16th December 2021

Newcomer Poet Marathon: A night of presentations and readings of new poets, combining physical and online presence.

Parallel Events: (11th -19th of December 2021)

  • Festival Anthology: Limited trilingual book edition plus eBook.
  • Online shows:
  • #meet_the_poets: tributes and interviews online at the channel.
  • #videopoetry: presentation of video-poetry online.
  • Poetry Set to Singing: music radio tributes to poetry set to singing.
  • Exhibitions:
  • Poetry exhibition: presenting the works of poetry
  • Book exhibition of Newcomer Poets: presenting poetry collection books from new poets; participation from established poets and publishing houses.
  • Poetry Alley: Presentation of poets and poems (the ones participating in the festival) on a central pedestrian precinct of Patras.

During both the physical and the online events, there will be participation from internationally acclaimed academics, novelists, critics, and representatives of institutions.

The Patras World Poetry Festival 2021 is organized by the “Grafeion Poiiseos” Poetry Foundation, the literary website Culture Book (, while it is annually held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism*. The festival’s events are supported by the Greek Library of London, the University of Western Macedonia, the Hellenic Open University and many other esteemed institutions, since the festival takes place under the aegis of the Hellenic Republic’s President.

The Patras World Poetry Festival is one of the largest literary institutions in Greece, certainly the largest of its whole region, and it has already drawn attention amongst esteemed festivals internationally. Every year, the city of Patras hosts important figures of world literature and offers a richness of events, including poetry readings, seminars and cultural activities. The festival’s vision is to promote Greek literary expression worldwide and turn this capital of Western Greece into a European center for literary studies. Through its actions, the festival communicates with various departments of Greek literary studies all over the world and it chronicles contemporary poetic expression.

A detailed programme will soon be posted on the festival’s website


On behalf of the Scholarly Representatives

Kotopoulos H. Triantafyllos

Chair of the “Patras World Poetry Festival”

Skiathas D. Antonis

Chair of the “Grafeion Poiiseos” Poetry Fountation



Maria Alaniadi


Archival content available on 

Ahlam Bsharat, Palestine


Ahlam Bsharat, Palestine

The Poems

I Am Watermelon, I Am Lamb

My family used me to drink water,
they thought I was a tin cup.
This goes back to the day I cupped my palm in prayer,
and to the times I'd fallen but didn't break.

A deep gash in my left leg left a scar
that no man ever loved—
a scar that proved nothing, disproved nothing.

For years things stayed the same:
I leaned on my scar. And in school,
my girlfriends used me as a sponge
in Arabic class, passed me around
away from the teacher's eyes.

I also did it, used myself,
passed myself through walls.

But there's no reason anymore to think
I am a watermelon.
Even though the friends I acquire in life
think that my green exterior
justifies putting me under the knife.

During religious holidays
people in our neighborhood considered me
a lamb, slaughtered me in front of my mom.

Mom reached out to touch me
but when her hand went through my chest
she felt that the whole thing was an illusion
and forgave them.

This kind of illusion helped me later
to move about in empty trains.

I was nimble and lucky, and not once,
while packing my bags at crossroads
and waiting, did anyone plant a music instrument
in my head or think me a flower pot.

Then I committed suicide.
On my fortieth birthday
I threw myself off my table
into shards and fragments in front of the guests
who instantly disappeared.

I had to regather myself by myself,
sweep the floor, as I do
whenever dust fills my house
after I forget my soul windows open.

(Translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah)

* * * 

The Cat Cow

I want to hug the cat named Cow, who survived the war
Squeeze her so hard in my arms
That her spots rub off on me
That I become like her
Or simply become her
The cat Cow


I want to hug the ruined balcony, some of which, not all of which, survived the war


And tell her:
My heart's balcony is with you, Balcony
My railing hugging yours
My washing hugging yours
My hoe stored in the corner hugging yours
My view hugging yours
Hugging every last thing in sight
Every atom of air
Every flight of birds


I don't want to hug my friends, the survivors of the war
Afraid they'll fall from my hands
Afraid they'll melt at my heat
Afraid I'll kill them with my hug
Even where the war did not

(Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber)

The Poet

Ahlam Bsharat is a Palestinian novelist, poet, and children's author, as well as a teacher of creative writing. She is a prominent and highly regarded author of YA novels in the Arab world, and her books have met with great success at the local and international levels. They have been included in IBBY lists, shortlisted for the Palestine Book Award (UK) and Etisalat Award for Children's Literature (UAE). She has participated in numerous creative writing forums in Europe. Her poems have been translated into English, Spanish, and Italian. Her latest publication: "اسم الطائر " is a collection of poetry rooted in her peasant origins. She tells of village life with a rawness and directness in these poems, and without the usual romanticization of this subject matter. 

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Πέμπτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2023

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