Patras World Poetry Festival

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DECEMBER 10th - 13th  2020 

We would like to inform you that due to the implementation of a new lockdown in our country and the increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the organizing and scientific committee of the “Jean Moréas International Awards” and the Patras International Poetry Festival postpones the date of the event on December, 10-13 of 2020.

Digital Event

The Patras World Poetry Festival 2020 this year is entitled "National Poets" and plans to host 60 poets from 15 different countries around the world.

This year the festival  be held online and virtually, as far as COVID-19 impact affects significantly the implementation of this event.

In the four-day online event there will be 6 meetings lasting up to 3 hours, where the guest poets will be presented with readings in 2 languages, via live connection. The events will be attended by invited representatives of institutions and the jury, while the program will include speeches, presentations, tributes, music, etc.

In addition, the following activities will take place within the schedule of the Festival events:

  • online Award of the annual Greek Poetry Awards "Jean Moréas" (Saturday December 12th)
  • Art Exhibition "National Poets" with the participation of 20 Greek artists and 10 artists from different countries (live and digital tour)
  • Collectible trilingual edition of the poems of the participants, in the first language of each artist, in Greek and English

The 3rd Patras World Poetry Festival 2020 is organized by the Poetry Fountation “Grafeion Poiiseos”, the literary website Culture Book ( and the multicultural center Epikentro Plus History & Arts, while every year it is under the auspices of the Ministries of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism*. Supporters of the event are the Greek Library of London, the Cultural Center “Kostis Palamas”, the University of Western Macedonia, the Hellenic Open University and many other important institutions, as claimed under the Aegis of the President of the Hellenic Republic.

Awarding of Poetry Awards "Jean Moréas" for the year 2019

This annual event will be held digitally at one session of the PWPF Poetry Event 2020, with a presentation of the award-winning poets and recitations by them. This is the annual event during which the "Jean Moréas" Prizes are awarded for Greek poetic art and Greek poetic production in its entire range. They are recognizable nationwide and concern the poetry collections that were published throughout the previous calendar year from the year of the award. They refer both to young poets and newcomers and to those who are recognized with their poetic work along time.

The event is highly appreciated by the Greek literary and artistic circle of readers. In this year's event, in addition to the institutionalized awards, a very important foreign poet will be honored, who with his/her lifelong work honors the literature outside Greece.The Award Committee is composed of Greek University professors, as well as very important poets and poetry critics who will evaluate the work of the honorees.


On behalf of the organizing committee.

Kotopoulos H. Triantafyllos, President of the “Patras World Poetry Festival”

Skiathas D. Antonis, President of the Poetry Fountation “Grafeion Poiiseos”

Alaniadi Maria, Event Manager of the “Patras World Poetry Festival”

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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