Open Letter to Europe - a new high-profile program launched at the Days of Poetry and Wine festival
Days of Poetry and Wine, one of the most renowned poetry festivals in Central Europe, will be collaborating with Berlin-based Allianz Kulturstiftung to showcase the Letter to Europe project in 2017. In August 2017, the festival will present the first edition of the Letter, which will try to address Europe and the world and bring back to them the language of art, considered, meticulous and precise. Perhaps Europe isn’t doing so well because she had stopped listening to poets and started using the brash vocabulary of commentators? Each year, the festival’s curators will pick a prominent poet and give her or him an opportunity to address Europe and shine a spotlight on the problems they consider the most pressing.
The first Letter to Europe will be written by Flemish author Stefan Hertmans, one of the outstanding voices of contemporary literature – poet, essayist, novelist and erudite from the country whose capital has become synonymous with everything European. But what distance separates the state from the land, the land from the individual, the concept from reality? In his masterpiece War and Turpentine, published 100 years after the First World War, Stefan Hertmans spoke of the cruel world that opened in 1914 in front of those who by coincidence found themselves in a storm that they never wanted, and showed how the advent of such evils of war signified the end of an age. War and Turpentine was selected as one of the top ten books of 2014 by The New York Times and was one of the ten nominees for the Booker Prize. What, if not excellent literature, can convince the world to listen?
Once a year, the Letter to Europe project will try to address our cultural, political and economic realities through the careful selection of participants and through great literature. Our wish is for the world to adopt a different kind of language for at least a single day each year.
Open Letter to Europe is organised in collaboration with Allianz Kulturstiftung.
Photo: Stefan Hertmans by Michael Hendricx