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  International Meeting of Poets
Faculty of Letters
  Department of Anglo-American Studies
University of Coimbra



The International Meetings of Poets began in 1992 as a celebration of the first centenary of the publication of the death-bed edition of Leaves of Grass. Instead of just another scholarly Conference on the poet, Walt Whitman, Maria Irene Ramalho, the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the Meetings since then, suggested a Poetry Festival in his honour. This celebration was to have an academic, educational emphasis.

In the early 90's, poetry readings in public places were not widely disseminated in Portugal. Some members of the Department of Anglo-American Studies (Grupo de Estudos Anglo-Americanos - GEAA) had participated in experiences of that kind, namely in the USA, where public poetry readings invade not only the space of universities, but also the public spaces of the towns, from libraries and bookstores, bars, cafés, to parks and churches. In 1992, that practice was almost non-existent in Portugal. Fiama Hasse Pais Brandão and Yvette Centeno were reading their poetry in Coimbra for the first time during the First Meeting, and António Ramos Rosa read his for the second or third time in his life. Since then, the situation has changed radically.

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