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This report is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

Genova, Not Geneva: Poetic Revolution (10–19 June 2016) Peter De Ville
THE GENOA (GENOVA) International Poetry Festival, energetically directed by Claudio Pozzani, deserves wider recognition, particularly in the UK. It has over one hundred events including readings, performances, slams, exhibitions, talks, site visits, light projections and poetry and music concerts, all with the aim of testing the limits of the word ‘poetry’. It’s a week of multiple celebrations of poetry without stylistic or linguistic barriers and, incredibly, thanks to a package of benefits from patrons, the EU Creative Europe Programme, some thirty collaborators, forty partners and volunteers, all events are  free.

But to begin at the beginning. Initially the festival was a response to Italy’s overly-formalised pre-1990s cultural scene, and was given energy by the transformation of the city of Genoa (with its dirty, dispirited, structurally decayed centre and port area) into a modern metropolis and tourist destination. This came about largely as a result of the 1992 Genoa International Exhibition celebrating the Genoese Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America. The very courageous decision was made to hold the exhibition in the old port and the whole area was flamboyantly redesigned and opened to public use following the vision of the Italian architect and engineer Renzo Piano.

Groups of young poets sought these expanded horizons. Claudio Pozzani, already involved in the Time Travellers circle of poets, organised the first festival in 1995, called Genovantacinque, a word-play on Genova ’95. In 2000 the festival’s name changed to Wide Open Words (Parole Spalancate) a clever in-joke cocking a snook at the Ministry of Culture, which didn’t (and doesn’t) consider poetry ...


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