Chinese Poetry Festival 2017

Source: China Daily (9/5/17)
Poetry for all ages
By Chen Nan | China Daily

More than 30 Chinese artists, including renowned TV host Chen Duo and actor Han Tongsheng, will gather in Yichang city of Central China’s Hubei province on Sept 12 to mark one of the country’s key contributions to humanity--Chinese poetry.

The artists will recite poems in an opening gala for the fifth Chinese Poetry Festival, billed as the biggest poetry event in the country.

The event also opens with singing, dancing and instrumental performances.

The festival, which runs through Sept 17, is organized by the Ministry of Culture and the China Writers Association. It aims to celebrate the power of poetry in all its forms and will treat the public to traditional and contemporary works, along with forums and other related activities.

“Poetry has never been more vital,” says Shang Zhen, the deputy director of Poetry Periodical, a Beijing-based publication focusing on poetry and launched by the China Writers Association in 1957.

“China has a long history of poetry. Through these events, we want to introduce the great Chinese poets to people, particularly to those from the younger generation.”

One forum during the festival will host 15 poets to discuss contemporary Chinese poetry and another platform will include seven poets focusing on the traditional form. They include winners of the Lu Xun Literary Prize, one of China’s top literary prizes, and poets from 10 Chinese ethnic groups.

The Chinese Poetry Festival was launched in 2005 and has since been held every three years.

The first four festivals were held in Ma’anshan, East China’s Anhui province; Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province; Xiamen, East China’s Fujian province; and Mianyang, Southwest China’s Sichuan province.

“The upcoming festival is themed on ‘serving the people and the country’, and it welcomes the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” says Ming Wenjun, the deputy director of the Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture.

“More than 80 poetry events are held in Yichang every year and that enables the city to cater to a large audience for the art,” says Yan Rongli, the deputy director of the culture department of the Hubei provincial government.

More than 100,000 poetry enthusiasts have participated in the city’s poetry events, and Hubei itself boasts a rich heritage in poetry, with many famous poets having called it home, adds Yan.

Qu Yuan, a poet from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) who was born in Hubei’s Zigui county, is one of the country’s most prominent classical literary figures. He is best known for his poems collected in the anthology Chu Ci or Songs of Chu.

Other luminaries, such as the Tang Dynasty’s (618-907) Li Bai and Song Dynasty’s (960-1279) Su Dongpo and Ouyang Xiu, all penned numerous works while living in Hubei.

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