The year’s most-anticipated poetry festival will take place at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi this weekend, when the 11th National Poetry Day coincides as usual with first full-moon of the year with the theme Tuoi Tre Voi To Quoc (Youth and Nation).

“This year, youth will be the main focus of the poetry festival,” said Huu Thinh, chairman of the Vietnam Writers Association, organiser of the festival. “This is a chance to honour the creativity of youth and encourage their enthusiasm.”

In addition to the participation of poetry clubs from Hanoi and surrounding areas, this year’s event will also include the participation of students from 11 colleges and universities in Hanoi and the northern province of Thai Nguyen, including Hanoi Culture College , the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the University of Technology , and Thai Nguyen University .

“We will also focus on patriotism and nationalism,” Thinh said, “Participants in Poetry Day will enjoy a cultural festival with a chance to express their dreams and love and, together with other poets, to express their responsibility to the nation.”

Poetry Day this year will also greet American war veteran and poet Bruce Weigl, whose has published several anthologies, including The Monkey Wars and Song of Napalm, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1988. He was a strong opponent of the American War in Vietnam and feels a strong connection to Vietnamese literature.

The festivities will begin on the night of February 22 with a presentation of poems by students and poets from clubs throughout the country. The best will be selected for presentation on Poetry Day on February 24.

Poetry Day begins with a festival procession which will be larger than ever this year, with the participation of 120 performers from the Vietnam cheo (traditional operetta) and tuong (classical drama) theatres. They will parade along the streets around the Temple of Literature to honour poetry while dancers perform to traditional music.

The poetry festival will feature two stages, one for veteran poets and another for young ones. The second stage promises to bring excitement to visitors, as musician Le Viet Khanh and boy band M4U will cooperate with young poets to present a performance of poetry and music.

In honour of the 70th anniversary of the Cultural Movement for National Salvation [against the French domination], the writers association will also exhibit works of writers, poets and cultural activists who have made contributions to the nation’s independence cause.

Busts and famous works of 19 writers representing the movement will be on display around Thien Quang Well at the Temple of Literature.

To pay tribute to the nation’s sovereignty, an exhibition of maps and artefacts marking the country’s maritime territory will be displayed, on loan from several museums.-VNA