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Taipei poetry festival kicks off with lengthy poetry reading

By Yali Chen

Cheng Mei-hua (left), Director of the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs, and Hung Hung (right), one of the curators for the Taipei Poetry Festival, demonstrate how to use the “Automatic Vending Machine of Poetry” at the Thursday press conference in Taipei. (Photo by Yali Chen / Taiwan News)The 2011 Taipei Poetry Festival kicked off with a 7-hour poetry reading on Saturday afternoon at the plaza in front of the Taipei Zhongshan Hall.

A total of 17 poets from Taiwan and Poland read their latest works. Besides the Polish writer Zenon Fajfer, the local poets included Kuan Kuan, Lee Ming-yung, Wu Zu-lin, Lin Chi-yang, Lu Han-shiu and Chen I-chih.

The festival features a variety of visual media including films and performances to present the depth and richness of classical and contemporary poems, one of the event’s curators, Hung Hung, said at the Thursday press conference in Taipei.

Now in its 11th year, the event will run until December 11 and also includes lectures, exhibitions and installations. Hung and another curator Yang Chia-hsien used a tent and five painted containers to create a “Poetry Cosmos” for Taipei citizens. To promote the poetry, they also invented an interactive device that helps viewers write their own poems.

“Taipei is a city filled with poetic inspiration. This device named the ‘Automatic Vending Machine of Poetry’ is an interesting way to explore the world of poetry,” said Cheng Mei-hua, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government.

Polish poets Zenon Fajfer and Katarzyna Bazarnik will also attend this year’s festival, presenting a lecture about ‘Liberature’ on November 28 at the plaza.

Festival curator Wei-Yun Lin-Gorecka says that in 1999 they coined the term liberature – a new literary genre describing the indissoluble link between the text and its physical container (the book).

Fajfer and Bazarnik have founded and run the Liberature Reading Room in Krakow, Poland. They also co-authored the liberary books Oka-leczenie (2000) and (O)Patrzenie (2003).

The event is showcasing other interesting works by foreign artists such as Polish architect Radoslaw Nowakowski and Nobel Prize winner Herta Muller.

One of the Nowakowski’s most remarkable works is Ulica Sienkiewicza w Kielcach (Sienkiewicz Street in Kielce). This book depicts Sienkiewicz Street in 2002 and is ten and a half meters long. As readers spread the book out on a desk, they can read texts and poems on both sides of the street that are written in many different languages.

For more information, go to http://poetry.culture.gov.tw