Poetry is the Song of the Cosmos

Poetry is the Song of the Cosmos/La Poesía es el Canto del Cosmos. This was the theme of the 9th annual International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua, an allusion to a well known work, Cántico Cósmico, from this year’s honored poet, Ernesto Cardenal. Father Ernesto Cardenal is a famous Nicaraguan Catholic priest and liberation theologist and also considered one of the best Latin American poets alive today. For Marisa and I the annual poetry festival in Granada has been one of the highlights of our time here in Nicaragua. This is the third year we’ve attended!


The International Poetry Festival lasts for a full week every February and this year featured poets from 60 different countries. During the day poets and volunteers of all ages visit schools in the surrounding departments of Granada and Masaya to give poetry writing workshops, read poems, and promote a love of poetry and literature. At night the atmosphere of Granada’s main square turns magical as some of the planet’s finest poets raise their voices to join the “song of the cosmos” in many different tongues. Marisa and I were only able to spend two nights at the poetry festival this year but we heard poets from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, the United States, Bangladesh, and Algeria sharing their poems in Spanish, English, Bengali, and Arabic.

Bangladeshi poet, Aminur Rahman

Bangladeshi poet, Aminur Rahman

Nicaraguan poet and author, Gioconda Belli!!! Marisa and I have read her book The Country Under My Skin.

Nicaraguan poet and author, Gioconda Belli!!! Marisa and I have read her book The Country Under My Skin.

The plaza was packed with every chair full and many people standing behind.

The plaza was packed with every chair full and many people standing behind.

If that isn’t enough, every night comes to a close with a concert by some of Nicaragua’s most famous musical artists. This year we heard folk singer Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy and the cumbia/rock group La Cuneta Son Machin both distinctly Nica in their sound and lyrics.

The International Poetry Festival is world class and something that Nicaraguas are and should be very proud of. The best part? It’s all completely free, so the festival provides a unique space where people from around the globe and from many walks of Nicaraguan life, those staying the night in fancy hotels and the ones selling plantain chips and shaved ice on the street, can come together and sing the song that every Nica learns in pre-school – “Nicaragua, Nicaragüita my dearest, most beautiful flower… now that you’re free, I love you even more” – and really mean it.

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3 Comments on “Poetry is the Song of the Cosmos”

  1. Peter Worsley Says:

    Thanks for sharing time with us in NI. We had a great time and learned a lot about RJ in NI.
    Elena & I are in San Marcos right now & will head back Masaya tomorrow.
    We enjoyed reading your blog!
    I hope we can see you again before we head back.
    Peter & Elena

  2. Moira and Tom Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful experience with us. Would have loved to have stayed on to join in this weekend. Blessings to you both

  3. Darrel Says:

    Hi Adam & Marisa,
    I also wish to thank you for your warm hospitality during the RJ learning tour. You two are an inspiration and a gift to MCC as well as to the people of Nicaragua!! God be with you.

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