The gathering is organised by the “2 9 2” section of the Rešetari Culture and Literary Association and enjoys the support of its chief sponsor the State Office for Croats Abroad and the co-organisers, the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Rešetari municipality. Forty poets took part in the event in person, joined by poetry buffs from 35 countries via video links.
The search for poetic expression begins in the soul of all people when they contemplate the world around them; their inspiration leads them to put into poetry our existence and to look into the unknown but alluring, hidden to the human eye, and far from our knowledge; that which we only have hints of, notes the opening of the foreword to the 24th collection of poems of the Rešetari gathering of poets, a unique event that brings together poets living abroad and those in Croatia. The event was staged for the 24th time, this year on 25 September, in the small town of Rešetari, the seat of a municipality that is home to some five thousand people in Brodsko-posavska County.
This meeting, although staged in rather unfavourable circumstances, has met with the success of previous incarnations, and hosted its guests with the hospitality we have come to expect of the Slavonia region. The event is hosted by the “2 9 2” section of the Rešetari Culture and Literary Association (KLD Rešetari) and enjoys the support of its chief sponsor the State Office for Croats Abroad and the co-organisers, the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Rešetari municipality. The current pandemic fears have, of course, had an impact, with only forty poets showing up in person, but they were joined by poetry buffs from 35 countries via direct video links.
One name dominated the welcome speeches and the socialising, that of the “seeker of the beauty of words” Ivan De Villa, the president of the Rešetari Culture and Literary Association. The heart and soul of these gatherings; as the head for the past forty years of this association he and his associates have been tireless in organising these gatherings and working with Croatians across some forty countries. In his welcome greeting to everyone gathered at the gymnasium of the Ante Starčević Elementary School in Rešetari and to those following the event online, he noted that the poetry collection produced by this year’s event would be sent to the thirty-seven countries that are home to all the poets and Croatian associations abroad that applied to participate in this year’s proceedings.
The event was officially declared open by Željko Rupić of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, who noted that the CHF, celebrating seventy years of working with people of Croatian background around the world, has been a long-time event collaborator. Rupić noted that the CHF was proud of its work to support this event from its inception.
This year’s event drew applications from 150 poets, with the work of 125 selected for publication in this year’s collection, titled Na sunčanome žalu (“On a Sunny Strand”) and presented at the event along with the 14th collection of the works of young poets, featuring 120 poems and presented by teacher Gabrijela Vojvodić.
The event saw a number of the young poets interpret their own contributions and those of other participating poets, including Zrinka Kapetanić, Suzana Jelić, Katarina Čavlina, Evica Kraljić and Ljiljana Lipovac. On hand to provide musical interludes was the talented young poetess and musician Lara Josipović. The event was wonderfully moderated by poetess Lidija Puđak.
Next year the Rešetari gathering of poets will see its silver jubilee twenty-fifth incarnation.
Text and photography by: Željko Rupić