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Poets yearn for purity of poems from years past
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2011-08-14 11:21

Two hundred poets from 55 countries voiced their desire to return to a more classic style of poetry at a four-day poetry festival in a city in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

"A poem with clear rhythm, syntax and structure contains its own moral responsibility," Lithuanian poet Tomas Venclova said during the closing ceremony of the Qinghai Lake Poetry Festival on Thursday. Venclova was given the Golden Tibetan Antelope Award, the festival's top prize.

Tu An, an 88-year-old Chinese poet and the vice president of the Poetry Institute of China, said that people are mistaken in trying to subvert poetic traditions. He said that contemporary Chinese and foreign poetry is full of "vulgar poems depicting deterioration, violence, and lust."

However, the Qinghai Lake Poetry Festival won praise for the awards it gave to poets who have refrained from using such language.

"The fact that the top festival award went to a European poet shows that China is open to cultural exchanges," said Petr Borkovec, a young Czech poet.

Venclova, who is known as one of the greatest living European poets, said poetry is the essence of human language. "It can be secular, but not vulgar," he said

Tie Ning, chairwoman of the China Writers Association, said "we should always look at poetry in the same way that we look at the starry sky."

Many Chinese and foreign poets appealed to their counterparts and readers to maintain the "purity of poetry" during the festival.

Although their opinions differed, the poets were optimistic about the future of the art form.

"All the greatest poetic cultures were cultivated during eras of prosperity. Poetry has been here for thousands of years and it always will be," Venclova said.

Alifano said the future of poetry lies with poets' creativity. "If they are free to express themselves, they can always find new ways to voice new ideas," he said.

"China is a country of poetry. It conveys the best of humanity. Without it, Chinese culture would lose its essence," said Tie.

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