The acceptance speech of Anna Blandiana, the recipient of the Golden Wreath for 2019
Honored Members of the Council for the Golden Wreath Award,
Dear Poetry Colleagues from North Macedonia and
Dear Macedonian Readers,
I am not sure I know how to express the excitement I felt when I received the wonderful news that I will be awarded the Golden Wreath at Struga. In order to understand what I felt, you need to know that for me, a Romanian poet, this legendary wreath is more important than any other European Prize. And this is so not only because it’s one of the oldest literary prizes in the world, but because I grew up and became a poet under the nearly mythic aura of poetry festival on the Struga bridge and in the Ohrid Cathedral, and Nichita Stănescu’s crowning constituted the magical moment of my generation.
In a world in which wars, revolutions and the revision of history and geography have left little space for poetry, the Golden Wreath Award has endured for six decades at the watershed of centuries opposing the lyre and the laurels to all kinds of weapons, and countering all sorts of hatred with loving words. For fifty-eight years, the great poets of the world you selected have gratefully come to this land trodden by Orpheus, illuminated by the faith that beauty will save the world and that their presence may infuse the spirit of Europe with the form of the Struga wreath.
I hope the readers of the world will continue to join together around poetry as our hands join together to shelter a flame so that it won’t be extinguished by the wind.
May the God of poetry holding the golden wreath continue to bless North Macedonia!