5 April 2013 The Land of Ulro Today

Outstanding poets, writers of prose, critics and academics from 11 countries, including Argentina, USA, Germany, Russia, China, Slovenia and Iceland, will arrive in Krakow in May to take part in the Miłosz Festival. The program of the 3rd Miłosz Festival, the guiding topic of which will be The Land of Ulro, will consist of poetry evenings, panel discussions, concerts, film shows and something that readers await most strongly: meetings with authors. The Festival Centre will be located in the Małopolska Art Garden, which will turn into a unique poetic space for 4 days.

Jerzy Illg, Artistic Director of the Festival, stresses that, as usual, the core of the festival will be poetry. Apart from individual meetings with festival guests invited to take part in the festival, there will be three common poetry readings.Participants of the first event (Thursday, the 16th of May) will be Julia Hartwig – the duchess of Polish poetry, Gary Snyder – a legendary poet representing the Beat Generation, and Duo Duo – one of the most interesting Chinese poets and the winner of the prestigious Neustadt Prize (called the “small Nobel Prize”). The second reading on Friday, the 17th of May, will consist of poems by Wiera Burłak – a Byelorussian poet, Michael Krüger – a poet, writer and editor from Munich, Tomaž Šalamun – an internationally recognised Slovenian poet, and Adam Zagajewski. Finally, on Saturday, the 18th of May, the following poets will meet: Philip Levine – one of the oldest living American poets, Juan Gelman, who is considered to be the most outstanding living Spanish poet, Lev Rubinstein – an interesting poet and performer from Moscow, and Janusz Szuber,’ says Jerzy Illg.

The Festival will also include a number of panel discussions; during the first of them, entitled Czesław Miłosz in the Land of Ulro (on the 16th of May), a discussion about the winner of the Literary Nobel Prize will be held by Mark Danner, who is currently living in Miłosz’s apartment, Renata Gorczyńska, Adam Zagajewski, Anthony Miłosz and Richard Lourie – a student and a friend of the author of Visions From San Francisco Bay. The second debate entitled In the Shadow of the Empire (on the 19th of May), with Miłosz’s texts about Russia as the starting point, will gather experts such as Norman Davies, Boris Dubin, Adam Pomorski, Adam Szostkiewicz and Richard Lourie – an expert in Russia and an author of many books on this country. The third panel discussion Evil – Experience and Literature (on the 18th of May), which refers to The Land of Ulro – Miłosz’s work which gave the title to the entire Festival, will be hosted by Stefan Chwin and its participants will include Juan Gelman, Mark Danner, Adam Zagajewski and Michael Krüger.

There will also be separate poetry readings devoted to poetry and alternative music from Russia (White Nights) and Iceland (Lobster, Dragon or Fame: Smekkleysa in Krakow). During White Night, which has been prepared in co-operation with Konstanty Usenko – the author of a book on Russian underground music, one of the main protagonists of his story – the legendary band N.O.M., whose music combines the influences of Monty Python, The Residents and The Plastic People of the Universe, will appear on the stage of the Malopolska Art Garden. And on Saturday we invite you to Smekkleysa in Krakow! These people changed the Icelandic culture in the middle of the 1990s. Krakow will be visited, among others, by Sjon – the author of lyrics for Björk’s songs and musicians of Björk’s former cult band Sugarcubes, who are still active on the musical stage. There will be an opportunity to listen to Ghostigital, Captain Fufanu, Sigtryggur Baldursson and Ásgerður Júníusdóttir.

Representatives of younger generations of poets will present themselves in a series of meetings entitled Generations, which are devoted to the poetry of the generations of the 1960s (Marcin Sendecki, Jacek Podsiadło, Mariusz Grzebalski, Miłosz Biedrzycki), the 1970s (Krzysztof Siwczyk, Justyna Bargielska, Tadeusz Dąbrowski, Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało) and the 1980s (Łukasz Podgórni, Konrad Góra, Kira Pietrek, Szczepan Kopyt).

Thanks to the initiative and support of the Book Institute and joint efforts of Polish publishers, all foreign guests will have an opportunity to present and sign collections of their poems. Premieres of poetic volumes by Paul Celan, Tadeusz Dąbrowski and Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało will take place. 82 Poems by Joseph Brodsky will be reissued on the 20th anniversary of the poet’s last visit to Poland, and Anna Piwkowska will read her poems from the recently issued volume Lustrzanka [The Reflex Camera].

Another huge attraction scheduled as a part of the festival will be a pre-release screening of Widok Krakowa [View of Krakow] – a film by Magdalena Piekorz that is awaited not only by lovers of poetry. The film is a part of the international literary & film project City (W)rites, which present literary capitals of Europe in the form of meetings with writers associated with each city. The central figure of Piekorz’s film is the poet Adam Zagajewski, who will show his literary Krakow – his masters, favourite places, fellow writers, and will talk about his literary path and Polish literature. The producer of the Polish episode of the City(W)rites series is the Krakow Festival Office, while the shooting is supported by the Krakow Film Commission. The making of the film is supported by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage with funds from the Promoting Readership programme. The funds are managed by the Book Institute.

The festival will also include events addressed to schoolchildren and the youngest kids.

The project was co-financed from funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which are operated by the Book Institute