Patras World Poetry Festival 2022

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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 

Zita Izsó, Hungary


Zita Izsó, Hungary

The Poems

As the Offspring of the Cichlids

I mostly remember the snow.
We elbowed on the windowsill,
staring at the infinite whiteness
when the soldiers broke the door in.
I had just enough time
to drag my little sister to the pantry.
While we were hiding
each breath hurt as if a
bayonet was stabbing me.
I worried that it could pierce between my ribs.
Then it was over.
They'll find us, my little sister screamed.
I squeezed my eyes shut so as
not to see what they would do to her.
It's said that in the greatest need
one can hear God's voice.
Perhaps you don't speak, my Lord,
because you don't carry us
in the palm of your hand, but in your mouth,
the way cichlids carry their offspring.
The soldiers dragged me out to the garden,
spread my legs.
stuffed snow in my mouth to stifle my weird,
prolonged scream. At first I didn't
know it came from me. I thought
a rat got stuck between
the insulation and the roof, squealing,
struck its head until it was bloody and stuck.
But when the soldiers stuffed my mouth with snow
I realized the sound came from me.
The snow melted,
the slush dripping down my throat.
It tasted like the falling snow
my little sister and
I caught on our tongues.
Since the war began
nothing tastes the same,
not my mother's soup,
not my granny's sponge cake.
But the taste of snow didn't change at all.
My mother said God carries us
in the palm of His hand,
not in His mouth.
Lying on the cold ground,
I am thinking of the warmth of your palm, my Lord.
When the soldiers finished, they stood up,
said nothing, remained silent.
The mountains drill the sky
the way teeth bite the lips
of a man suppressing a cry.

(Translated by Gábor Gyukics)

* * * 


For an instant after waking
you don't recall what gravitation is.

But soon enough you recognize
the worn furniture
in the dim light,

and then remember
that Julius Caesar's soldiers
burned the Great Library of Alexandria,
and man in the rock-cut tomb had been dead
for three days already.

You are as lonely
as if you were alone in the Garden of Eden.
In vain you've improved much.
In vain you have developed good qualities,
but if no one is there to acknowledge them,

you feel like
a plant
which became extinct
before it was discovered.

It would feel good if someone would be happy for you.
You imagine an alien whose face lies like a politcian's
when he smiles at the year's first newborns.

When you get up,
you won't be waiting for His Creation any longer.
You recreate yourself each morning
using whatever substance is handy,
though you haven't looked in the mirror for weeks
so you don't know how you look.

You sit up.
It sounds as if someone is
crying behind the walls,
but it's only in your head.
It's hard to accept
that everything that exists is
with you in this room.

(Translated by Gábor Gyukics)

The Poet

Zita Izsó was born in Budapest in 1986. Her first poetry collection, Tengerlakó (Sea Dweller), won the Gérecz Attila Prize for the Year's Best Debut Novel in 2012. With her first drama, she won the Hungarian Radio Playwriting Contest. Her second poetry collection, Színről színre (Face to face), was published in 2014. Since 2015, she and the Hungarian photographer Máté Bach have run The Pest Woman blog. In 2017, they published a book of collected interviews from the blog under the same title. Zita's poems have been translated into English, German, Arabic, Turkish, Czech, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, Romanian, Greek and Bulgarian. She published her third poetry collection in 2018 under the title Éjszakai földet érés (Nighttime Landing). She is one of the editors of the – World Literature Magazine. She translates English, German, French, and Spanish writers. Her fourth poetry collection will be published this autumn.

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