Barcelona’s Poetry Festival

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“Poetry is contagious, like a virus, and spreads like pollen…” or so Barcelona Poesia, the city’s official poetry festival, would like us to believe. When in fact, poetry is the domain of few and far between. That said, fans of poetry are usually really passionately interested in anything to do with the art, and this year’s festival promises performances that might even amuse a more general public.

At 9pm tonight, Tuesday May 8th, 2012, Barcelona’s annual poetry festival kicks-off with the Nit de Poesia Al Palau (Poetry Night at the Palace) at the beautiful Palau de la Música Catalana, one of Barcelona’s quintessential modernist structures. Poetry by nine different poets in nine different languages will be read. There will also be video poems by Frederic Amat, and piano improvisation by  Agustí Fernández.

Not into poetry? No matter. For a meager admission fee of 6 euros, you can see the inside of this emblematic Barcelona theater (guided tour s run 16 euros, and theater tickets typically cost 30 euros or more).

The festival goes on until May 17th, with daily events ranging from poetry performances to free workshops for would-be poets every weeknight from 7pm to 9pm at Barcelona’s Ateneu Writing School.  The offerings for speakers of Spanish and Catalan are virtually endless, but monolingual English poetry-lovers need not despair: Friday night (May 11) promises an exciting performance by Urayoán Noel and Saul Williams, the self-proclaimed “Bastard Sons of NYC”.

While Noel is a student of New York’s well-known nuyorican movement (a fusion of Puerto Rican and New York Culture) and a renowned poet in his own right, the main affair is Williams.  A world-famous slam poet, he is a sight to behold, a powerful expressive force spitting out words that not only entertain but more importantly examine today’s most pressing social programs. Check them out at the Palau de la Virreina Theatre, Rambla 99, or check out the full festival offering here.


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