STA, 26 August 2020 - The 24th Days of Poetry and Wine (Dnevi poezije in vina ) festival will kick off in Ptuj on Wednesday featuring more than 30 poets, including this year's guests of honour Scottish poet and novelist John Burnside and Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli. The festival's Open Letter to Europe will be penned by Hungarian author Krisztina Tóth.
Apart from the main venue, the oldest Slovenian town, events will take place in various other towns and cities across Slovenia.
The international festival, hosting poets who have gained international acclaim as well as up-and-coming authors, has had to adjust to the coronavirus and all of its ramifications.
Running until Saturday, Days of Poetry and Wine will unfold in both the physical and virtual worlds since in-person events have even greater value in the current circumstances, said Aleš Šteger, the festival's director and a poet himself.
"We need the other, their words, a sense that someone else is there," he said, adding that culture had been one of the areas taking the brunt of the corona crisis.
Due to health reasons, Cavalli and Burnside will not be able to attend the festival in person, the Scottish poet will however address the visitors via videoconference.
Burnside is one of only three poets to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and Forward Poetry Prize for the same collection of poems.
Cavalli, another prolific author, is one of the most renowned poets of contemporary Italian poetry.
Tóth, acclaimed Hungarian author and literary translator, will deliver a public reading of the 2020 Letter to Europe at the opening ceremony on Thursday.
The author warns in the letter that there is something wrong with Europe, urging deep reflection on the current state of affairs, including by reading poems, and heeding wake-up calls, such as the corona, climate and migrant crises.
The Open Letter to Europe project was launched in 2017 in cooperation with the Berlin-based foundation Allianz Kulturstiftung and aims to address burning issues by invoking the language of art.
All the letters so far have been well-received and translated and published in numerous languages. They have also been sent to decision makers, including MEPs and members of the EU Council and EU Commission.
Apart from discussions with guest poets and wine-tastings, there will also be poetry readings, including one in the dark tunnels deep under the Ptuj Castle.
Moreover, acclaimed Slovenian poet Dane Zajc will be honoured in an exhibition about his life and work at a library in Ptuj.
Saturday, the final day of Days of Poetry and Wine, will bring another highlight of the festival - the first Ptuj wine promenade will be held in cooperation with the Salon Sauvignon arts and wine festival.
Visitors will be able to indulge in quality poetry and wine in various venues, including cafes, courtyards, pubs, libraries, museums and gardens.
There are capacity restrictions due to Covid-19 precautions and advance bookings are required. Evening events are an exception since they can accommodate more people, said the organisers.
More details on Ptuj's Days of Poetry & Wine