THE CURTAIN FALLS FOR THE 22ND EDITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL “DITËT E NAIMIT”

From October 18th to 22nd, the 22nd Edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” was held in Tetova and Pogradec. On its agenda there was a series of different activities, such as many literary readings, book presentations, the awarding of literary prizes, visits of different cultural and historical sights in Tetova, Skopje and Pogradec etc. 
The festive opening of the 22nd Edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” was accompanied by a beautiful firework and the presentation of national Albanian costumes in front of the Cultural Centre “Naim Frashëri” in Tetova. The Festival Director Shaip Emërllahu, the Swiss laureate Beat Brechbühl, the Minister of Culture Asaf Ademi, the Mayor of the Municipality of Tetova Teuta Arifi laid down bouquets of flowers in front of the statue of the poet Naim Frashëri, which was erected on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death by the Direction of the Festival. 
At the entrance of the Cultural Centre, during this opening, too, the public was offered for free the anthology of this edition as well as other new books of the publishing house of the Festival.
                                 After that, the 22nd edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” was officially opened by the Minister of Culture Asaf Ademi, who talked about the role and importance of the Festival for the affirmation of the Albanian language and culture and valued the tireless and continuous work of the Director of the Festival. He said: “I cannot deny that I am very pleased that this festival is celebrating its 22nd anniversary, which is very significative for its organizers. Therefore, besides congratulating for this success, I just have to express my admiration that in a time when our world is almost turn apart by a long transition, people have gathered in our midst who held Naim’s Candle inflamed and continued to believe that to a town without poetry, the muses won’t return to rekindle inspiration.”
The Mayor of Tetova Teuta Arifi

Then the Mayor of the Municipality of Tetova Teuta Arifi said some welcoming words. After reciting some verses of the poet Naim Frashëri about the Albanian language, she said as the mayor of the host city: “Dear Minister of Culture, dear Festival Director, dear friends of the beautiful poetic words, with all my heart I welcome you in this town, where for 22 years the International Poetry Festival ‘Ditët e Naimit’ has been a part of this emotion, a part of this great feeling, the feeling that poetry makes us more sensitive, friendlier and better persons. 
The Director of the Festival Shaip Emërllahu welcomed those present, especially the poets, and read a poem dedicated to Gjergj Kastrioti (Skënderbeg), which was written by the laureate of last year, the American poet George Wallace, on the occasion of the Year of Skënderbeg.
At the beginning of the great literary hour “Poetic Globe”, the actor Arsim Kaleci recited the poetic hymn of the Festival, “Words of the Candle” by Naim Frashëri. Afterwards, the poets from all over the world read their poems: Beat Brechbühl (Switzerland), Gerry van der Linden (Netherlands), Kristian Guttesen (Island), Glória Sofia (Portugali), Elizabeth Grech (Malta), Marisol Bohoruez (Columbia), Rokiah Hashim (Malaysia), Primoz Repar (Slovenia), Natalia Trevino (USA), Moan Shalabia (Israel/Palestine), Gema Bocardo (Spain), Jon Høyer (Denmark), Giuseppe Napolitano (Italy), Noah Ayala (Puerto Rico), Silke Blumbach (Germany), Lucilla Trapazzo (Switzerland), Elena Prendzova, Sladjana Bojanovska and Bardhyl Zaimi (Macedonia), Erina Çoku, Ylli Çela and Arjan Kallço (Albania), Brahim Avdili and Ndue Ukaj (Kosova). 
The Jury member Ndue Ukaj read aloud the motivation why the Jury consisting of Prof. Dr. Ymer Çiraku (chairman), Ndue Ukaj and Isuf Sherifi (members) awarded one month ago the great literary prize “Naim Frashëri” to the Swiss poet Beat Brechbühl. “The poet Beat Brechbühl accompanies in his verses manifold poetical motives with a marked ideo-emocional sensitivity and expressivity. The subtle and impressive feelings and experiences of love are like a thread that runs naturally through the tissues of all this poetry. This love, in fact, has large proportions. It does not remain unilateral, but appears and is transmitted on all its levels: as a love and relationship of human solidarity among people, or even with all the appearances of hot passions among lovers. This juxtaposition of motives creates a balanced and appreciated pace of this poetry, which goes to the reader with variations of puzzles, images and poetic trills.
Poems for the lonely person confined in the shell of contemplations of the existential nature, for people marginalized by life, for refugees, gypsies… all around create a dramatic symphony, which is at the same time a modern-day appeal. But they do not turn out to be within the framework of a fatal despair, as the poet has present also the unfolding of those values that bring human ties and solidarity – something so necessary and precious among people. This belief finds a well-crafted and symbolic expression as well in the creation of the poetic image of that moment of dawn in spring, in one of the author’s poems, when the poppies emerge victorious over the antagonizing weather …
The poems of this renowned Swiss author, with all their felt motives full of emotional vibrance for love, for the meaning of life through existential projections, for friendship and loneliness, fatal joys and losses, create altogether an original poetic original universe, which, likewise, is quite attractive to the reader.
Subsequently, the Director of the Festival Shaip Emërllahu handed the great award “‘Naim Frashëri”, which is given for “High esthetic and artistic values”, to the laureate and conferred the title of an Honorary Member of the Festival to the well-known Swiss poet Beat Brechbühl.
On this occasion, the Swiss laureate Brechbühl thanked the organizers and the Jury for the awarding of this great prize of the Festival.
Up to now, the title of an Honorary Member of the Festival has been conferred to well-known writers and intellectuals, like Ismail Kadare (Albania), Desmond Egan (Ireland), Thomas Tidholm (Sweden), Manlio Argueta (El Salvador), Abdellatif Laâbi (Morocco), Fatos Arapi (Albania), Peter Poulsen (Denmark), Lionel Ray (France), Eva Lipska (Poland), Ali Podrimja (Kosova), Craig Czury (USA), Tua Forsström (Finland), Athanase Vantchev de Thracy (France), Sebastiano Grasso (Italy), Kuei-shien Lee (Taiwan), George Wallace (USA) etc. 
The literary prize “Ditët e Naimit”, which is given for one’s literary career, was awarded to the Dutch poet Gerry van der Linden.
At the end was given even the literary price “Ditet e Naimit” which is given for the literary career. The winner of this price is the Netherland poet, Gerry van der Linden. 
On the second day of the programme, in the conference room of the hotel “Lirak”, five new books of the publishing house “Ditët e Naimit” were promoted: the poetry books of the laureates George Wallace, Beat Brechbühl and Kuei-shien Lee, of the Festival Director Shaip Emërllahu as well as the anthology of the poets participating in this edition, “Dense Imbroglio”, compiled by Shaip Emërllahu. These books were presented by the poets and scholars Ndue Ukaj, Xhelal Zejneli, Remzi Salihu and Bujar Plloshtani. 
In the afternoon, the poets visited the cultural and historical sights of Skopje, like the museum and the place of the house of Mother Theresa, the statue of Alexander the Great and the statue of Gjergj Kastrioti (Skënderbeg). In the evening, in the Arabati Baba Tekke, the literary hour “Poets and Verses” took place, and songs were sung to the sounds of the guitar.
On Saturday, the poets left for Pogradec. There the second part of the programme of the Festival took place in co-organisation with the Municipality of Pogradec.
The 22nd edition of the International Poetry Festival “Ditët e Naimit” was closed with the great literary hour “Poetic Meridians”, which was held in the Cultural Centre “Lasgush Poradeci” in Pogradec, where the poets read their poems and the remaining literary prizes of the Festival were awarded. 
The prize “Menada” for special poetic values was given to the American poet Natalia Trevino.
The literary prize “Oeneum” for the best poetry cycle went to the Palestinian poet Moaen Shalabia.
The literary prize “Naim’s Candle” for the best poem was given to the Macedonian poet Elena Prendzova.
The literary prize “Silke Liria” for the poetic expression was given to the poet Arjan Kallço from Korça, Albania.
On the third day, the participating poets visited Drilon, Tushemisht and the statues of the poets Lasgush Poradeci and Mitrush Kuteli. In the evening they returned to Tetova.
Also for this edition, the Direction of the Festival published an anthology with the poems of the participating poets, “Dense Imbroglio”, compiled by Shaip Emërllahu.
The Festival was moderated by Narta Emërllahu. The poems were read in Albanian by the actor Arsim Kaleci and accompanied on the guitar by Naser Dula and on the piano by Biondina Selami.
The Festival was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, the Municipality of Tetova, the Municipality of Pogradec and the sponsors Vezë Sharri, Arbi and Kurtishi. It received also help by the Centre of Culture and the Societies for Culture and Education “Xheladin Zeqiri” and “Karnevalet Ilire”.

D. Hadri
Tetova, 22nd October 2018