Promoting poetry linked to the territory, identity, and the Literary Town is the objective of Óbidos Poetry Sessions, to take place in the months of March and April. Videos will be published online.

Saturday, 10 am, Porta da Talhada. The Contadeiras (Storytellers in English) – Leonor Pintos and Marta Machado – narrated the story of the Unknown Island (A Ilha Desconhecida), by José Saramago and the video, of approximately five minutes, should be shared within two weeks on Óbidos TV (YouTube) and the Óbidos City of Literature Facebook page. It is one of the activities of Óbidos Poetry Sessions, an initiative, which will take place during the months of March and April, presenting a different concept from other literary events, which are currently taking place online. It intends to host an experimental and alternative format and does not present a program, with pre-defined days or hours, or webinars, interviews, or long sessions.

These are videos of approximately five minutes, which will be made available at the end of the day and we want it to be a bit like an escape or an interval in this confinement,” explains Paula Ganhão, head of the Cultural Department of the Town Hall of Óbidos, to Gazeta das Caldas.

Another objective is to put Óbidos on the Portuguese wish list for when mobility is finally possible, with activities to be recorded in different natural settings in the town, but also in its bookstores and museums. For example, the activity “The Poet dances in the Literary Town”, consists of three parts, in which a group of artists dance in the different bookstores to the sound of the poetry of Armando Silva Carvalho, recited by Luís Duarte.

The initiative started on World Poetry Day, with a video that celebrates Armando da Silva Carvalho’s poem, “A poem that was short”, recited by local poets. On the same day, Livraria Artes e Letras presented a catalog with a selection of more than 200 books of poetry and, for each order, offers a bookmarker alluding to the day, designed and printed, in manual typography, by the studio.

Óbidos Poetry Sessions will also feature poetry sessions, such as “Viagem ao Centro dos Espelhos”, an online recital for various voices, including actor André Gago, poet  José Anjos, declaimer Pedro Freitas and students from the Josefa de Óbidos Secondary School. The Art and Design School of Caldas da Rainha will participate as theater students will create a podcast comprising of poetry readings and dramatic excerpts. There will be radio programs, poetic letters, literary walks, among many other initiatives.

The videos will premier between Wednesday and Sunday and, afterward, they can be enjoyed whenever the user wants.

Paula Ganhão emphasizes that this initiative intends to promote poetry, but is linked to the territory and the local identity, highlighting the work of Armando da Silva Carvalho, the natural poet of Olho Marinho, whose promotion is being carried out at national and international level.

“We intend to invest more and more in activities that value our people, something that already happens during Folio (Óbidos Literary Festival), in which we published books from actors from our community”, stresses the official. She also notes Óbidos, a Unesco Creative City, also allows promotes the participation of writers in international programs, as in the case of the CELA (Connecting Emerging Literary Artists) a Creative Europe project, which integrates the writer Patrícia Patriarca, born in Olho Marinho.

This is the first initiative linked to poetry and that is completely online. However, next year, when “some normality and circulation of people is possible”, the municipality intends to “change the concept a little and promote physical activities related to poetry”, explains Paula Ganhão, recognizing however that the digital component will continue to be mandatory, from now on, in all cultural events in Óbidos. ■

Source: Gazeta das Caldas. Report by Fátima Ferreira.

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