Let’s be honest, in today’s world, poetry doesn’t matter. It’s not commercially viable, you can’t build an industry around it, you can”t hype it or get products with brand recognition out of it. No break away hits, no pop cultural significance, remixes, reboots, reimaginings, movie or tv show rights, an overly drunk old poet making a ruckus at a gala happening will not get into tabloid sections of the newspaper, and even if he does, it’s the most he can hope for in terms of his work being shown to wider audiences. It’s still not going to get more clicks than a video of a baby being a baby next to it.
So when people write poetry, they write it because they felt the need for it, a need for creative expression of oneself and the world without any tangible or foreseen payback, financial or otherwise, from it. It’s those motives that make the art form feel pure, almost laughably naive in a cynical world. Especially if your choice of expression is a somewhat archaic form of a sonnet.
That’s why it’s so wonderful to know that a thing like Petrarca Fest exists in Zagreb, a small, under the radar festival that hands out annual awards for best sonnets. It’s even more wonderful to know that over two hundred sonnets from local poets have been submitted for it. It’s nice to know that so much poetry, specific poetry at that, is being made in this city and that there are enthusiasts willing to organize such an event. Petrarca Fest lasts one day and is being held on July 20th, on the great poet’s birthday, with the best chosen sonnets publicly read by actors, accompanied by a lute.
Petrarca Fest will be held at Ivan Meštrović atelier, Mletačka street 8, as part of the Courtyards event and will start at 7:30pm, with the awards being handed after the readings. A concert from Ansambl Antiphonus will be held afterwards.
And let’s be honest, in today’s commercially viable, industry building, hype producing, product branding, pop cultural, remixed, rebooted and reimagined world of movie rights and tabloids, poetry does matter.