History of the Festival
The Festival International de la Poésie (English: International Festival of Poetry) is an annual poetry festival held in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.
In the late '70s, the idea of promoting a large-scale event around poetry hatched in the mind of the co-founder of the Écrits des Forges publishing house, Gaston Bellemare. He was saddened to see how much the media ignored poetry. After much reflection, he came to the unequivocal conclusion that someone had to create an event that would arouse the general public's interest. People had to meet poets in everyday places.
In the fall of 1985, one year after the Fondation Les Forges Inc. was born, the International Poetry Festival was to forever change Trois-Rivières. Invited to the very first edition, Quebec's great singer-songwriter Félix Leclerc declared Trois-Rivières to be “the Poetry Capital.” Eighty Quebec poets and 5,000 poetry fans came to first Poetry Festival!
Over the years, it's become impossible to count the exact number of poetry lovers. After only 5 years, the Festival became international. Foreign poets and reporters from all over the world, Portugal, Mexico, France, the US, Australia, Lebanon, to name a few, rush to the Festival, knowing it will bring them international exposure. As the Festival grows, so does the number of attendees.
The International Poetry Festival, skillfully directed by Gaston Bellemare and Maryse Baribeau, has become the large-scale event its creator had hoped it would be. The public and the media know that Trois-Rivières is now a leader when it comes to world-class poetry. It certainly deserves its early nickname of Poetry Capital!