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 

Luis García Montero, Spain


 Luis García Montero, Spain

The Poems

The love

Words are ships
and so are lost, from one mouth to another,
as if from one mist to another.
They carry their cargo in discussions
without finding a dock,
the night when they're weighed down like an anchor.

They must get used to aging
and living with the patience of wood
worn by the waves,
to decompose gradually, to erode slowly,
until the sea reaches the
familiar hold and sinks them.

For life enters words
like the sea does to a ship,
covers with time the names of things
and transfers into the root of an adjective
the sky of a calendar date,
the balcony of a home,
the light of a city reflected on a river.

That's why, mist by mist,
when love invades words,
it bangs on their walls, marks on them
sings of a personal history
and leaves in the past of vocabularies
sensations of cold and hot,
nights that are the night,
seas that are the sea,
walks solitary that become a phrase
and stopped trains and songs.

If love, like all things, is a matter of words,
to draw near your body was to create a language.

Translation (Greek to English): Manos Apostolidis


Ο έρωτας

Οι λέξεις είναι πλοία
κι έτσι χάνονται, από στόμα σε στόμα,
σαν απ' ομίχλη σ' ομίχλη.
Μεταφέρουν το φορτίο τους στις συζητήσεις
δίχως να βρίσκουν λιμάνι,
τη νύχτα που τις βαραίνει όπως η άγκυρα.

Πρέπει να συνηθίσουν να γερνάνε
και να ζουν με υπομονή ξύλου
φαγωμένου απ' τα κύματα,
ν´ αποσυντίθενται σιγά-σιγά, να φθείρονται αργά,
μέχρι να φτάσει η θάλασσα
στo γνώριμο αμπάρι και να τις βυθίσει.

Γιατί η ζωή μπαίνει στις λέξεις
όπως η θάλασσα στο πλοίο,
σκεπάζει με χρόνο τ' όνομα των πραγμάτων
και μεταφέρει στη ρίζα ενός επίθετου
τον ουρανό μιας χρονολογίας,
το μπαλκόνι ενός σπιτιού,
το φως μιας πόλης που καθρεφτίζεται σ' ένα ποτάμι.

Γι' αυτό, ομίχλη την ομίχλη,
όταν ο έρωτας εισβάλλει στις λέξεις,
χτυπά τους τοίχους τους, χαράζει σ' αυτούς
τα σημάδια μιας προσωπικής ιστορίας
κι αφήνει στο παρελθόν των λεξιλογίων
αισθήσεις κρύου και ζέστης,
νύχτες που είναι η νύχτα,
θάλασσες που είναι η θάλασσα,
βόλτες μοναχικές που γίνονται φράση
και σταματημένα τρένα και τραγούδια.

Αν ο έρωτας, όπως όλα, είναι ζήτημα λέξεων,
το πλησίασμα στο κορμί σου ήταν δημιουργία μιας γλώσσας.

Translation (Spanish to Greek): Chrysoula Ksenou


El amor

Las palabras son barcos
y se pierden así, de boca en boca,
como de niebla en niebla.
Llevan su mercancía por las conversaciones
sin encontrar un puerto,
la noche que les pese igual que un ancla.

Deben acostumbrarse a envejecer
y vivir con paciencia de madera
usada por las olas,
irse descomponiendo, dañarse lentamente,
hasta que a la bodega rutinaria
llegue el mar y las hunda.

Porque la vida entra en las palabras
como el mar en un barco,
cubre de tiempo el nombre de las cosas
y lleva a la raíz de un adjetivo
el cielo de una fecha,
el balcón de una casa,
la luz de una ciudad reflejada en un río.

Por eso, niebla a niebla,
cuando el amor invade las palabras,
golpea sus paredes, marca en ellas
los signos de una historia personal
y deja en el pasado de los vocabularios
sensaciones de frío y de calor,
noches que son la noche,
mares que son el mar,
solitarios paseos con extensión de frase
y trenes detenidos y canciones.

Si el amor, como todo, es cuestión de palabras,
acercarme a tu cuerpo fue crear un idioma.

* * * 

Bitter Song

On his face he bears
three lost years
and the cold of six in the morn.

They'll tear your heart apart.
the light is out,
the corridors blurry,
the door that stabs its clang in your back.

They'll tear his heart apart.
And he drags
a dusky chain
of frozen passions,
that cold which only fits
behind one word.

And I watch her walk,
losing herself as she's walking,
a fugitive sorrow that comes and goes
from the shadow to the door of my home.

The artificial light leaves on the street
the silent shivering
of three boats anchored.

When she walks past me I feel
something like the beating of oars
and a murmuring of water.

From: Las flores del frío
(The flowers of cold)

Translation (Greek to English): Manos Apostolidis


Πικρό τραγούδι

Στο πρόσωπο κουβαλά
τρία χαμένα χρόνια
και την παγωνιά στις έξι το πρωί.

Θα σου σκίσουν την καρδιά.
το φως σβηστό,
οι διάδρομοι θολοί,
η πόρτα που καρφώνει το θόρυβό της στην πλάτη.

Θα του σκίσουν την καρδιά.
Και σέρνει
μια σκοτεινή αλυσίδα
παγωμένων παθών,
αυτό το κρύο που χωρά μονάχα
πίσω από μια λέξη.

Κι εγώ τη βλέπω να περπατά,
να χάνεται εκεί που περπατά,
φευγάτη θλίψη που πάει κι έρχεται
απ' τη σκιά στην πόρτα του σπιτιού μου.

Το τεχνητό φως αφήνει στο δρόμο
το σιωπηλό τρεμούλιασμα
από τρεις αγκυροβολημένες βάρκες.

όταν εκείνη περνάει πλάι μου αισθάνομαι
ένα χτύπημα λες κουπιών
και τον παφλασμό του νερού.

Translation (Spanish to Greek): Chrysoula Ksenou


Canción amarga

En la cara lleva
tres años perdidos
y el frío de las seis de la mañana.

Van a partirte el corazón.
De pronto
la luz apagada,
los pasillos turbios,
la puerta que clava su ruido en la espalda.

Van a partirle el corazón.
Y arrastra
una cadena oscura
de pasiones heladas,
ese frío que cabe solamente
detrás de una palabra.

Y yo la veo caminar,
perderse en lo que anda,
fugitiva tristeza que va y viene
de la sombra a la puerta de mi casa.

La luz artificial deja en la calle
el temblor silencioso
de tres barcas ancladas.

cuando ella cruza por mi lado siento
como un golpe de remos
y un murmullo de agua.

De: Las flores del frío

The Poet

Luis García Montero (Granada, 1958) is a Spanish poet and literary critic, essayist, professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Granada. He belongs to the generation of the 1980s or post-novels within the current called poetry of experience. Director of the Instituto Cervantes since 2018.
He has published 14 collections of poems, 8 books of essays and 6 of narrative. Among many others, he has received the Adonais Prize for Poetry (1982), the Loewe Prize (1994), the National Critics Award (2003), the Andalusia Critics Award (2009) and the Federico García Lorca Award (2008).

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