Meridian Czernowitz International Poetry Festival

Meridian Czernowitz International Poetry Festival
Meridian Czernowitz is an annual international poetry festival held in early September in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi. It is organized by an international literary corporation of the same name that specializes in literary management and aims to return Chernivtsi to the cultural map of Europe.

The city of Chernivtsi was named Czernowitz between 1774 and 1918, when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Czernowitz was one of Europe’s most important literary centers. Notable authors who lived and worked in Czernowitz included Olha Kobylianska, Yuriy Fedkovych, Rose Ausländer, Georg Drozdowski, Josef Burg, Eliezer Steinbarg, Itzik Manger, Gregor von Rezzori, Mihai Eminescu, and one of the major German-language poets of the post-WWII era Paul Celan.

Actually, the name of the festival was inspired by Celan’s speech entitled The Meridian that he delivered on the occasion of receiving the Georg Buchner Prize. According to Celan, the word “meridian” is more than a geographical term, it is a literature-related philosophical concept. The organizers named their festival Meridian Czernowitz to emphasize the importance of Celan’s speech for the development of European poetry in the second half of the 20th century.

The inaugural Meridian Czernowitz International Poetry Festival was dedicated to Paul Celan and his legacy, and took place in 2010. Its initiators included Igor Pomerantsev (poet, publicist and journalist), Yuri Andrukhovych (writer, essayist and translator), Petro Rykhlo (literary scholar and translator), Mark Belorusets (translator), Svyatoslav Pomerantsev (social activist), Serhiy Zhadan (writer, poet, publicist and translator), Yosyf Zisels (human rights activist), and Serhiy Osadchuk (historian and social activist).

The main goal of the festival is to return Chernivtsi to the cultural map of Europe and facilitate dialogue between contemporary Ukrainian poets and their foreign colleagues. Every year, Meridian Czernowitz welcomes poets from Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Romania, Israel, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many other countries, introducing them to the Ukrainian audience.

The festival programming includes poetry readings, lectures, discussions, photo poetry and poetry-related sculpture exhibitions, book presentations, theatrical and musical performances, poetry-based animation, video poetry, jazz rock and ska punk poetry, digital poetry, video art, open mics, special programs for teenagers and youth, and more.

Meridian Czernowitz

Photo: Aleksandr Zubko |




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