|Wordsmiths: Poetry lovers participate in the 14th Viet Nam Poetry Day held in Tam Ky City, in the southern province of Quang Nam yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Huu Trung
HA NOI (VNS) — Thousands of poets and poetry lovers flocked to Van Mieu (the Temple of Literature) in Ha Noi yesterday for the 14th Viet Nam Poetry Day, the country's annual biggest poetry celebration.
This year European poetry was introduced. European poets attended the event, creating an international literary and cultural exchange, according to Huu Thinh, chairman of the Viet Nam Writers' Association.
Poets Andre Velter from France (winner of the Goncourt Prize for Poetry in 1996) and Jean-Pierre Orban from Belgium (winner of European Book Prize 2015) recited their poems onstage. Later, they interacted with audience members at the EU Booth after the ceremony.
Earlier on Sunday, Velter and Orban joined poet Nguyen Quang Thieu in a discussion entitled "Poetry on Life's Journey" at the French Institute of Ha Noi.
Selected poems of the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska were recited by Vietnamese poets in Polish and Vietnamese. Szymborska received the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Ta Minh Chau translated a collection of Szymborska's poems into Vietnamese. The collection was published in Viet Nam in 2014. Two hundred free copies of the book were distributed to poetry lovers at the Poetry Day.
By presenting European poetry books, facilitating discussions and giving poetry readings, the EU aims to showcase Europe's cultural diversity and to facilitate cultural exchange, according to Wilfred Hulzebosch, EU Public Diplomacy and Outreach project co-ordinator.
"There's a broad interest in poetry among the Vietnamese audience and also a wide and partly latent interest in foreign poetry, including poetry from Europe," said Hulzebosch.
"This popular event provides an excellent opportunity to bring European poetry to a Vietnamese audience."
Pham Thuy Nhi of the Romanian Embassy said since early morning, many people visited the EU booth where many publications of European poets were displayed.
"The free poetry books were distributed very quickly to visitors," she said, "Many older readers who studied in Poland were deeply moved to receive Szymborska's book."
Organised for the first time in 2003, Viet Nam Poetry Day falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month. Viet Nam Poetry Day is now a cherished national tradition celebrated by more people every spring.
In HCM City, with the theme New Spring – New Development, the day finished yesterday.
A workshop on poetry in the City from 2010 to 2015 kicked off the event on Saturday.
As many as 20 tents featuring performances from poetry clubs from all over the city were set up on Sunday. The annual mass poetry stage hosted various performances such as dancing while reciting poetry and folk singing based on poetry.
Young poets had their own space to exhibit poetry sketches and poetry collections.
At the main gala held on Sunday night, poets of all ages recited poems and talked about the creative process.
A poetic drama featuring navy soldiers guarding the country's sea and islands was a highlight of the gala night.
In other provinces across the country, the poetry movement has never been stronger.
In the northern province of Thai Nguyen, the poem Nguyen Tieu (The First Full Moon) written in 1948 by President Ho Chi Minh at the Viet Bac Revolutionary Base was recited along with other poems praising the country.
Poets and poetry fans there enjoyed poetry, music and painting exchanges.
The central region has been dubbed the country's poetry kingdom.
In Ha Tinh, a celebration was held to commemorate Xuan Dieu's 100th anniversary, the Prince of Romantic Poetry.
Further south in the central province of Quang Ngai, thelocal Literature and Arts Association chose the theme Party Brings Spring for the Poetry Day on Sunday.
Poems by Che Lan Vien, To Huu, Te Hanh and Thanh Thao were recited.
In the northern province of Bac Giang, the Song Thuong Literature and Arts Prizes were awarded on Sunday.
As many as 17 literature works were awarded among 48 entries of all kinds of prose, poetry, music and fine arts.
The Song Thuong Literature and Arts Prizes are given every five years to honour artists contributions to arts, photography, music and architecture in the province. — VNS