Book reviews, Culture

Feelings and words with destiny in Cereté

From 24th to 27th November, voices from Colombia, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela, will be heard in the XVIII National and International Gathering of Female Poets.


Sara Gordón del Riego

The Raúl Gómez Jattin Cultural Centre in the Colombian region of Córdoba is once again organising a national gathering of national and international female poets, together with the Colombian Ministry of Culture, and supported by the local government of Cereté. The Departmental Ministry of Culture and other institutions.  The event is called “The Word: Magic Against Violence” And brings together women from all over the world united by the power of the word written in verse.

This female poetry contest began its long journey in 1992/1993, when the writer José Luis Garcés González decided to organise a reading to enable female poets’ voices to be heard.The initiative did not receive much support, but the writer was undeterred, and in 1994 he chose Cereté as the home of a gathering of female poets which has since become an international event.

The only requirements for participation are being female and writing poetry. It doesn´t matter if the poems have been published or whether they are unedited, what matters is their quality.  Circulation of the poems is guaranteed as once everyone is in Cereté the verses flow from hand to hand and from mouth to mouth.

All poems are welcome, and they are mixed with theatre, or with music as done once by the mezzosoprano Deyaníra Rodríguez.

This year there will be a creative writing workshop for children and young people a few days before the gathering begins.

What´s on, what will be heard

The meeting’s official programme will commence on 24th November and this will be the start of four days of poetry recitals, book launches and visits to exhibitions and museums.  There will be a wide range of activities, each with a very specific theme.

These include: “Creative Writing Workshop” (for children and young people), “In a younger tone, In an older tone” (Female poets from with children from the workshop), Opening Act XVIII National and International Gathering of Female Poets (National and international female poets) and “Readings of wonderment: Poets of the Memory in a Women´s Code” (run by Yolanda Sánchez, Colombian poet and writer).

Other topics include: “The Disobedience of Pandora: our violence in the poetry of María Mercedes Carranza, Piedad Bonnett and Mery Yolanda Sánchez” (run by Santiago Espinosa, Colombian journalist, poet and philosopher), “Book launch: “Memories of an Apprentice” by Yirama Castaño, “A Collection of Bones” by Ela Cuavas, “The private life of Laura Martín” by Carmen Victoria Muñoz, “Art lives in me” (museum visit) and “Poetry Recital” (National and international poets).

But also: a visit to the exhibition “Although you don´t believe it” by the artist Alváro Barrios, simultaneous reading of poetry in family homes,  the launch of the book “Reports to turn off the darkness” by Beatriz Vanegas Athías, a folkloric music show by the group Danzas Catalina de Carrillo and “Different Voices of the Meeting”(Literary gathering of national and international poets).

In summary, a compilation of acts and activities that will give a complete overview of a women’s work through the vehicle of poetry.

Representing Colombia will be: Mery Yolanda Sánchez,  Beatriz Vanegas Athías, Ana Patricia Collazos,  Nora Carbonell, Idania Ortíz, Lucía Estrada, Marga López,  Margarita Galindo,  Yirama Castaño, Patricia Iriarte, Yenny León, Ela Cuavas,  Carmen Victoria Muñoz,  Sandra Paéz,  Kenia Martínez, Irina Henríquez, Catalina Pérez, Alba Lucia Hernández, Dora Berdugo, Mayra Izquierdo and Claudia Silgado

Participants from other countries are: Kae Morii (Japan), Inmaculada Contreras (Spain), Deth Haak (Brazil), Sandra Petrovich (Uruguay), Laura Hernández Muñoz (Mexico), María Malusardi (Argentina) y Belkys Arredondo (Venezuela).

Words will be the undisputed stars in a gathering which will give women from around the globe the opportunity to express their feelings to the world in the form of poetry.

(Translated by Zoë Thurston – Email:

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