This is not the first year that the Sochi International Winter Arts Forum has hosted a poetry tournament. Poetry competitions were widespread in Russia a century ago, during the Silver Age; back then, during a period of mass enthusiasm for the arts, the venue for tournaments was the Strolling Dog and Comedians’ Shelter in St Petersburg, and later, in the 1920s, the hall of the Polytechnical Museum in Moscow. Half a century ago, during the Soviet Thaw, open poetry performances were resumed in Moscow. Similar competitions take place nowadays, but when the activity of the public, both writing and reading, is increasingly directed towards the Internet, a live conversation with the masters of art (not to mention little-known Euterpa priests) is able to attract very few…
And yet, the poetic endeavour of the Sochi festival is already bearing fruit. Poets of different generations and their admirers, critics, art critics, musicians – the audience of the Organ Hall of Sochi Philharmonic during the days of poetry tournaments is becoming more and more diverse. Undoubtedly, a special atmosphere of arts festival, which reigns in the streets, cafes, hotels and concert halls of the city during these February days, has an inspiring effect on creators, opens the souls of listeners sensitive to the beauty.
The participants in the Poetry Tournament 2021 include translator Nikolai Zvyagintsev, translator, essayist and poetry researcher Maxim Amelin, writer and playwright Dmitry Danilov, journalist and literary theorist Evgeniya Vezhlyan, founder of the studio for the literary development of teenagers Inga Kuznetsova, publisher Alexander Pereverzin, Andrey Grishaev and Elena Lapshina.
This time, the tournament will be judged by a professional jury: linguist, professor at Russian State University for the Humanities and Higher School of Economics Maxim Krongauz; literary scholar and translator, director of the Dahl State Literary Museum Dmitry Bak; linguist, candidate of philological sciences, winner of the Enlightenment Prize Alexander Piperski; and poet and TV presenter, winner of the Moscow Score Grand Prize Yuli Gugolev.