Struga was my 51st poetry festival outside of engerland and often ive returned wishing I had documented these experiences better, being as they are often so idiosyncratic. I finally invested a bit of time in making a minidoc supercut of such a trip and Im quietly happy with the result. It captures just a touch of what it was like to be there.
This can be read in it's entirety here www.stevenjfowler.com/struga (it's quite long but I hope worth a read...)
"With the opportunity to give the last reading of the festival, in Skopje's Daut Pasha Hamam, I said that I’ve had nearly 2000 weeks on the planet and this week was up there with the best. Embarrassed by the week behind me, I told the truth. 56 Struga festivals before us, behind me.
A week in Macedonia. The Struga Poetry Nights. Translucent time, hectic, furious but also gentle, diaphanous. This kind of altered rhythm of consciousness descends, a dislocated holiday from reality, a soft military excursion for poetry. The ether turned up, like a week on whippets.
The overriding feeling, reflecting upon it, a few days out, is about the sensation of sincerity without sentimentality that so marked the Macedonians running and steering the ship, and how that permeated into some really wonderful poets / poems / people / experiences.
Pedigree, an extraordinary history, coming into being during the early 60s and extending Yugoslavia’s idiosyncratic connections to independent post-colonial states and a myriad of political allies outside the Russia / US binary. Struga poetry is in Macedonia something that we in the UK do not have. It's important. I'm really happy to be invited, because not many english poets are, because its a cauldron of tradition that I feel bonded too. Global poetry. A friend who has been who has heard I'm invited tells me when he was invited it made the 2nd page of the national newspaper. In England not a single soul will notice. Good. All the better. Monkey in the shadows."
I gave 8 performance readings in 7 days in Macedonia. Below are 4 of them.
Struga poetry nights is one of the world's biggest and oldest poetry festivals, which I'm super happy to have attended and performed at. Some beautiful piccies here from the in house photographers of me doing things.