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           Readings by a number of Macedonian poets in honor of the two brothers, Konstantin and Dimitar Miladinov, great intellectuals, teachers, and writers, born in Struga in the early 19th century. Konstantin Miladinov is considered to be the founder of modern Macedonian poetry and each year the festival officially opens with his memorable poem "Longing for the South" ("T'ga za jug") written during his student days in Moscow.

           As from 1963, when many poets from all Yugoslav republics also joined the festival, the "Miladinov Brothers" award was established for the best poetry book published in the Republic of Macedonia between two Struga poetry festivals. By 1966, the SPE turned into an international poetry event and, consequently, an international poetry award called "The Golden Wreath" was established, given to a world renowned living poet for his poetic oeuvre or life achievement in the field of poetry. The first recipient of this award was W. H. Auden. Two years ago the SPE and UNESCO established a close cooperation and jointly promoted a new award called "The Bridges of Struga" for the best first poetry book by young authors from all over the world.

           Despite the tremendous difficulties and harsh realities that the festival has had to live with - the fall of Yugoslavia, the war in Bosnia, the Kosovo crisis, the political and ethnic clashes in Macedonia, the terrorist crisis after September 11th attacks, a number of political and economic embargos imposed on the region, the Festival managed to go on and is currently the oldest festival in the world, held in continuation for 45 years. It has successfully flourished and is now one of the most important poetry events in the modern world. And that is its a tribute to world poetry and the poets.

The Festival has offices in Struga and in Skopje (a director of office, an executive and a technical secretary) and is organized by a Festival Board, which consists of knowledgeable professionals in the field of poetry (poets, critics, translators, and professors in comparative literature and culture).

This year the SPE honored the great Cuban poet Nancy Morejón with "The Golden Wreath", and the national poetry, which will have its own evening, is contemporary Caribbean poetry. Among other events, this year's SPE also features a Translation Workshop, which this year will be held for the third consecutive year. It usually starts a week before the festival and is focused on the work of a prominent contemporary Macedonian poet or on the current year's winner of the national "Miladinov Brothers" poetry award. In that case the results of the workshop are presented at the evening dedicated to the winner of the award. The workshop is designed to bring together poets and translators to work in a rather relaxing atmosphere and a beautiful environment of poets-translators. The workshop is primarily also attended by young translators, mostly language and literature graduate students - some of them poets themselves, who present their work at a reading during the Festival.

           The most attractive poetry events during the festival are "The Meridians" reading at the opening evening of the festival, and "The Bridges of Struga" reading at the closing of the festival. These are spectacular events that attract the citizens of Struga to come out in huge numbers and greet the poets from all over the world with their famous hospitality.

Other featuring events of the Festival are the two multimedia events (poetry, music and video) called "Nights without Punctuation". The festival is thus open for new, rather experimental forms of poetic presentations, which also include other arts.

Every year, the Festival also organizes a round-tabel discussion on different and attractive topics. The theme of this year's round-table is “The Poem / the Picture" and we hope it will attract the attention of many literary experts from all over the world.

During the 45 years of its existence the festival has hosted about 4.000 poets, translators, essayists and literary critics from about 95 countries of the world.

So far the poetry anthologies of the following countries have been published and been given a special evening for their presentation:

Vasço Grassa Moura

     Slavko Mihalic

Edoardo Sangvinetti

Yves Bonnfoy

    Lu Juan

Makoto Ooka

Jehuda Amichai

  Ted Hughes
(Great Britain)

Justo Horhe Padron

Desanka Maksimovic


1971 Contemporary Italian Poetry

1972 Contemporary Soviet Poetry;

1972 Anthology of Romanian Poetry

1973 Contemporary Polish Poetry

1974 Contemporary Chilean Poetry

1976 Finnish Poetry

1977 Contemporary Algerian Poetry

1978 Contemporary Palestinian Poetry;

1978 German Poetry of the 20 th Century

1979 Modern American Poetry

1980 New Hungarian Poetry;

1980 Contemporary Indian Poetry

1981 Contemporary Greek Poetry

1982 Austrian Poetry of the 20 th Century

1983 Contemporary Venezuelan Poetry;

1983 Contemporary Poetry of Czechoslovakia

1984 Contemporary Egyptian Poetry

1985 New Chinese Poetry

1987 Contemporary Australian Poetry


1988 Contemporary Swedish Poetry

1989 Contemporary Belgian Poetry

1990 Contemporary British Poetry

1991 Contemporary Swiss Poetry

1992 Contemporary Poetry of Luxembourg

1993 Contemporary Italian Poetry

1994 Contemporary German Poetry

1995 Contemporary Danish Poetry

1996 Contemporary Albanian Poetry

1997 Contemporary Korean Poetry

1998 Spanish Poetry of the 20 th Century

1999 Contemporary Bulgarian Poetry

2000 Contemporary Russian Poetry

2001 Contemporary Portuguese Poetry

2002 Contemporary Tunisian Poetry

2003 Contemporary Indian Poetry written in English

2004 Contemporary Dutch Poetry

2005 Contemporary Israeli Poetry

2006 Contemporary Caribbean Poetry

           Every year the festival publishes a series of books in order to promote poetry by foreign authors to the Macedonian readership, as well as thematic anthologies of contemporary Macedonian poetry in English translation to readers abroad. The series "Pleiades" features seven famous poets from all over the world. Last year's series includes the following poets: Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan), Breyten Breytenbach (South Africa), Les Murray (Australia), Rita Dove (USA), Lionel Re (France), and Tarek Eltayeb (Sudan). The anthologies of Macedonian contemporary poetry include poets from all minorities in Macedonia published in their mother tongue, and in Macedonian and English translation.


The Struga Poetry Evenings have also established an International Poetry Library. It contains books of all festival participants. Moreover, its International Poetic Archive contains significant materials (books, manuscripts, photographs, films etc.) available to any literary researcher or poetry lover. Therefore, all participants are asked in advance to donate copies to the Library before their arrival in Struga. Last year the Festival renewed its web-site, which includes basic information about the festival and its contents, as well as reviews of its publications.

The Organizing Board and the Festival Office believe that the festival will go on developing its contents despite the times of transition the region is going through and that it will continue to cherish the long tradition of uniting the world through the word of the poets.

William S. Merwin

Thomas Transtroemer

 Mahmoud Darwish
Golden Wreath Award