Now we have to go back to our time in Granada. We specially arranged our visit to coincide with the annual International Poetry Festival. This is a serious academic event with delegates from all over the world, daily discussion sessions and so on. There is also a significant public element with poetry readings every day in the public squares – these are well attended by locals and tourists. Not for us as, except for a few readings in English, we couldn’t understand the original language nor the Spanish translation that followed! Can someone explain why all poets, regardless of nationality, find it necessary to read their work in a strange, unnatural voice?
One of the delegates was the author and poet Gioconda Belli best known in the West for her book ‘The Country Under My Skin” about her participation in the Sandinista’s struggle against the Contras in the 70s and 80s. She was delighted to pose with us for a photograph.
There is also a huge book fair – great if you read Spanish plus a craft market where Tricia started her shopping for home.
The highlight of the week was the Carnival Procession. I forgot to mention that every festival has a theme, this year’s was ‘The death of violence worldwide especially violence towards women’.
First came the poets following a horse drawn carriage carrying a few of their more venerable members. They stopped at each road junction to recite poetry. Next came the funeral cortège, a horse drawn hearse bearing the coffin followed by mourners. Next came mime, dance and music groups representing communities and organisations all celebrating aspects of Nicaraguan culture including representations of colonial history. The whole event was fun, noisy and boisterous. It took four hours for the procession to wend it’s way through the city to Lake Cocibolta, also known as Lake Nicaragua, into which the coffin was symbolically (but not actually) dumped!