International festival Ars Poetica takes poetry to the next level
Vladimíra Gahérová | 16.11.2016

It’s been over two millennia since Horatius, the Roman poet, wrote a theoretical piece titled Ars Poetica (on the art of poetry). Today, the very same title brings together authors both from Slovakia and abroad who have managed to successfully convert theory into practice.

On Friday the festival will welcome the legend of American poetry, Anne Waldman
On Friday the festival will welcome the legend of American poetry, Anne Waldman

Today marks the beginning of the 14th international poetry festival Ars Poetica in Bratislava. In the course of six days (November 16-21), guests will get a chance to witness not only poetry, but also various other genres, such as performance, dance or cinematography, all of which will be taking place on several stages.

On Friday, the festival will welcome the living legend of American poetry Anne Waldman, who was (among other things) strongly affiliated with the Beat poets in the 1960s. The poet Allen Ginsberg even labeled her his spiritual wife. Her name came up alongside Ginsberg’s in the 1978 movie Renaldo and Clara made by the musician Bob Dylan. The film documents Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, during which Waldman met personalities in the likes of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Eric Anderson or Joe Cocker.

“It’s an interesting personality. She doesn’t just think of poetry as merely just writing, but also meditation, or maybe even a shamanic dive deep into the moment, into the here and the now,” said Martin Solotruk, the director of the festival, with regard to the American poet.

Each Poetry night will be accompanied by a thrilling visual show by the VJ (visual jockey) Zdeno Hlinka. According to Solotruk, there’s always a new and original project: “We try to uphold the standard, because we believe that truly great VJ-ing develops the imagination provided by the poetic text, helps bring other senses into the experience and offers a whole another level of perception. It’s a deepened form of artistic experience. It’s not going to be just about text any more, but rather a personal synergic effect of a multimedia-based Poetry night.

Does poetry need accompanying elements to catch the eye of the audience? “I still firmly believe that a poem in its pure, textual form still has a vital place here. There is a charm around it, but at the same time, if any sort of interaction with other artistic genres is possible, why not welcome it with open arms? It offers a new form of experience, which we don’t usually run into. It’s a rare experience that we, through the Ars Poetica festival, are trying to offer to the visitors,” responds Solotruk.

Apart from poetry, the festival will host various dance performances, or a special film section under the name of Ars Poetica Film 2016. The program in the Focus India section will also focus on Indian authors and it will take place on Thursday night in V-klub in Bratislava.

English translation by Martina Tomašovičová