Days of Poetry and Wine, one of the largest and most recognizable international poetry festival in this part of Europe, successfully unites poetry with enology for the past twenty-five years. Every year in the last warm August days festival hosts over twenty poets from all over the world along with selected domestic winemakers. Up to 2009 it took place in Medana (a village in Goriška Brda next to the Italian border) during the last week in August, basically turning the village into the poetry capital of Europe for a week. In 2010 the 14th edition of the festival moves to Ptuj, a historical town of Roman origin in eastern Slovenia, one of regional partner cities of Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012. Since then the festival takes place in Ptuj. It is run by Beletrina Publishing Institute.
The festival, in 2022 curated by poet Kristina Kočan, successfully combines the poetic word with the promotion of the highest quality Slovenian wines.
Background and programme
The festival was initiated in 1995 by the Študentska založba Publishing House, Ljubljana. It has since expanded to offer more than just poetry and wine: it features numerous concerts, a selection of recent Slovene films, contemporary dance performances, street theatre, visual and spatial interventions, a programme for children … Among its goals are to examine intersections between poetry and other art forms and to provide an opportunity for discussions between authors and local and international publishers on different topics.
The twenty-sixth edition of the festival will take place between 22 and 27 August and will feature 20 poets from 10 countries. The main festival programme will take place in Ptuj, which turns into the capital of poetry during the festival. Festival events will also take place in Ljubljana, Maribor, Murska Sobota, Krško, Vitomarci, Juršinci, Ljutomer, Križevci pri Ljutomeru, Ormož, Ivanjkovci, Belo, Selce, Petanjci, Janški vrh and Laafeld in Austria.
American poet Carolyn Forché and Polish poet Tomasz Różycki will be the guests of honour, and their selected poems will be published in bilingual books before the festival. Open letter to Europe will be written and read publicly for the first time at the festival by the world-renowned Galician poet and activist Chus Pato.
During the festival, poetry will take over Ptuj, and more than 60 events will take place at numerous venues. In addition to poetry and wine, which are the main focuses of the festival, the organisers are also preparing a varied programme in the fields of music, visual, photography, film and other arts for all ages and different interest groups.
This year’s Days of Poetry and Wine will kick off in Pomurje with poetry readings and a literary translation workshop focusing on contemporary Catalan poetry. Guests at the events in Petanjci and Ljutomer, and later in Ormoz, will be Catalan poets Anna Aguilar-Amat, Anna Gual and Jordi Julià, who will take part in a Catalan-Slovenian literary translation workshop in the company of their Slovenian colleagues Ana Svetel, Ivan Dobnik and Milan Jesih, and translator and writer Simona Škrabec.
On the evenings of 25-27 August, the Ptuj City Market will host Grand Evening Readings, where all the guests of the festival will present their poetry, followed by evening concerts of bands Elis Noa, Hamo & Tribute 2 Love, Moveknowledgement and Masayah.
In 2010 the festival moved from Medana to Ptuj, whose location between Graz and Zagreb makes it ideal for international cooperation when it comes to both poetry and wine. The event has had many sponsors in recent years, next to the Ministry of Culture and the EU Culture program, and also cooperate with different European organizations like Allianz Kulturstiftung and EUNIC.