Poetry Days launch with ‘Lyric bike-ride’

Historically-garbed bicyclists will ride from the National Library (LNB) building through Old Town to the Esplanade Park at 19:00 hours Thursday evening to inaugurate this year’s Poetry Days and honor national poet and founding-father Rainis on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

A series of events and performances will mark the poet’s memory and honor his works.

“Each year we try to introduce a new idea to the Poetry Days’ celebrations, so this year we’ve brought in the ‘Lyrical bike-ride’. It’s a simple enough ride, but the special part is the attire worn by the riders, who’ve been asked to ‘encode’ Rainis in their garb somehow,” explained Poetry Days’ spokeswoman Laura Leimane.

“Yesterday students from the Arts Academy sewed together some old-fashioned striped one-piece bathing suits that Rainis loved to wear and that we popularize each year in our images. You should see lots of riders wearing those,” she predicted.

After their arrival at the Riga2014 Foundation’s summer stage installation at Esplanade Park, from 20:00 hours on people will read and listen to excerpts from Rainis’ poetry, plays, essays and speeches as read or performed by various established and emerging poets.

This year marks the 50th year since Poetry Days have been observed, prompting an especially broad and diverse program of events.

“From a ten-day festival the Poetry Days have stretched into two weeks, encompassing 38 events. This year we have an especially large number of foreign guests – 22 poets from 18 different countries. That’s what’s special this year,” Leimane told Latvian Radio Thursday.

As for the popularity of poetry nowadays, Leimane said the circle of attendees at Poetry Days was “a pleasant bunch.”

“Every year we see more new faces, more participants and listeners. The trend is very positive. Everyone comes to the event because they want to, not because they have to. The audience is very diverse, which is great,” she enthused.

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