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The 23rd World Congress of Poets in Osaka, Japan A Scintillating Success

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Newly blooming Cherry blossoms and the crisp early spring air were the perfect setting for the close to a hundred attendees from various countries who gathered in Osaka, Japan from March 25 to 29 for the 23rd World Congress of Poets. The congress’s main venue was the modern International House in the heart of this beautiful city.

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WCP President Noriko Misuzaki was a virtual one-woman multi-tasking powerhouse who, personally attended to the welcoming and accommodations of the delegates, the conduct of the diverse sessions, the out-of-town tours and the cultural entertainment. Whatever initial glitches occurred were eventually ironed out and the end of the congress saw the attendees congratulating the tireless organizer.

The highlights of the Congress were:

DAY ONE:

  • Keynote speeches and poetry readings by various Japanese poets, notably Prof. Naoshi Koriyama; a talk on Nobel Laureate Sir Rabindranath Tagore by Suparna Gosh of India and Canada; violin music by Yoriko Niiya; haiku and tanka recitation by the Congress muse Haruka Niiya; readings by UPLI Vice President Rex Valentine.
  • A tribute to the late past President Benjamin Yuzon by Dr. Ronald Shafer.
  • the installation of new UPLI President Virgilio (Gil) Yuzon by Dr. Wanda Rider, UPLI Executive Vice-President and acting President.
  • In the afternoon, a visit to the Tennoji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.

DAY TWO

  • Day Two was filled with lectures and symposia by various poets from Japan, Vietnam, Romania (via Canada), India and the U.S; Dr. Ronald Shafer gave a lecture on Shakespeare’s King Lear; and Peter Lee talked on the art of poetry translation; Masakuni Hayashi explained Tanka, the intricate Japanese poetry from

DAY THREE

  • The morning of Day Three saw the awarding of the winners of the well-participated WCP Poetry Contest. Some poets had a bountiful harvest of awards in the different categories.
  • After lunch, the delegates were treated to an afternoon of the traditional sung delivery and performance of several poems of Japanese folklore, held at the Yamomoto Noh Theatre, which is designed and constructed in the unique traditional Japanese style.

 

DAY FOUR

  • Day Four was devoted to an all-day out-of-town tour of several interesting sites in Kyoto; the Sanjyusangedo Temple, the Garden of the Imperial Palace, the Doshish University, Kinkakuji Temple and Ginkakuji Temple.
  • The evening saw a sumptuous dinner back at the Awina Osaka Hotel, climaxed by the colorful and soulful performance of Natica and Richard Angilly’s Poetic Dance Theater Company.
  • As a fitting conclusion to the energy-filled evening, the Okinawa Dance Group performed high-spirited traditional Okinawan dances, after which the delegates broke into a frenzy of dancing with the performers throughout the ballroom, which lasted until everyone was virtually exhausted.

DAY FIVE

  • The Congress came to formal end in the morning, with closing messages by President Gil Yuzon, Dr. Wanda Rider, and WCP President Noriko Misuzaki. Special personal awards of appreciation were handed out to chosen delegates by the highly respected Mme. Joy Cripps of Australia. The official UPLI/WCP awards were then bestowed on the Congress President and chosen poet-awardees of UPLI.
  • After the farewell lunch, the UPLI board under newly installed President Gil Yuzon held its biennial board meeting. At this meeting, plans to revitalize and grow the organization were presented by the President and enthusiastically approved by the board members. The major project to be undertaken in the next two years before the next congress is a Global Poetry Contest, with several categories (poetry forms), each one sponsored by and in the name of an individual board member. The contest, which will be open to poets around the world (to both UPLI and non-UPLI members), will offer three major prizes in each category, and is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2014.

DAY SIX

  • as a final treat the following day, the WCP delegates went on a day-tour to Narra, which among other attractions boasts of the home of the famous Big Buddha, found in the Todai-ji temple.

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