A note on: the 57th Struga Poetry Festival in Macedonia

I'm happy as a pig to have been invited to one of the world's oldest and most prestigious poetry festivals, Struga in Macedonia, starting in a few weeks time. Struga has been going since the early 60s and has had some of my poetry heroes amongst its attendees and its golden wreath award is seen as one of the top things an international poet can receive, with Auden, Brodsky, Ginsberg,  Neruda, Montale, Senghor, Enzensberger, Adonis, Krleža, Amichai, Heaney and Tranströmer all having got it. Obviously I'm not getting that, it's Adam Zagajewski, but I am one of about 25 poets who got invited this year chosen from every country on the planet. Though that puts me in a group of probably around 1500 alumnus poets over the last 50 years, I think only a dozen or so have been English. I know Tom Raworth was one. Ted Hughes. Anyway it's validating in the way that means most to me, that my work is considered outside of any specific Circles, that it has a little bit of run in the world. My friend in Norway told me when he was invited it made the second page of the national newspaper. In the UK, no one will ever know that I have been invited. Not that I'm complaining, it's actually a great gift to me, to be able to do my own thing with poetry and not be fundamentally anonymous, even if I am a bit in my home nation. I sit in a quiet middle space which allows for more room in both directions. I'll get to spend 8 days by Lake Ohrid meeting great poets from all over the planet. Such things are very rare experiences.