Turkey's Istanbul launches int'l poetry festival

# 07 March 2013 00:21 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Turkey's largest city Istanbul on Wednesday evening launched an international poetry festival under the theme of "four continents, single verse, Istanbul," APA reports quoting Xinhua

Hosting 55 famous poets from 17 countries, the four-day international poetry festival has breathed new life into Istanbul' s historical cultural richness.

Almost 1,000 audience attended the opening ceremony, during which 15 poets recited their poems.

"Through organizing this international poetry festival, we want to bring the spirit of poetry to Istanbul and its people," said Mehmet Mazak, director of culture and social affairs of Istanbul's Sultanbeyli Municipality, the major organizer of this international poetry festival.

Many foreign poets expressed their love for the city of Istanbul. "Istanbul itself is a poem. It is so beautiful. People of Istanbul live in poetry, how can they not love poetry?" Fatena Al-Ghorra, a poetess from Palestine said, adding that she wanted to write a poem for Istanbul when she returned.

Turkey has always been the country of poetry, boasting some world renowned Sufi mystic poets, such as Rumi and Yunus Emre.

Lived in the 13th century Turkey, Rumi's poems have been widely translated into many languages and read by people from all around the world, and his Sufi wisdom inspires both the East and the West. Yunus Emre is one of the poets who have left immense influence on Turkish literature even today.

Turkish students study poetry in their middle and high school Turkish courses. However, some Turks argued that the love for poetry is no longer as strong as in the past, saying that "The poem books don't sell well in Turkey and it is difficult to live as a poet in Turkey today."