Football and poetry in Granada Book Fair

VII Football Match – Narrators vs. Poets
Narrators score during penalty shoot-out
Recital and poetry films in La Expositiva. Photo © Jesús García Latorre
Lilián Pallares reads from "Pájaro, vértigo" (Huerga y Fierro, 2014). Photo © Jesús García Latorre
Poster: VII Football Match – Narrators vs. Poets, 2015
Spanish poet Raquel Lanseros presents her latest book.
Lilián with "Pájaro, vértigo" and "Sr Citizen" in the stand of Picasso bookshop.
The Sierra Nevada. Photo © Charles Olsen
We were in Granada, Spain, during the Book Fair, to give a poetry recital and see a literary football match


We were in Granada, recently denominated a UNESCO City of Literature, at the invitation of the publisher Cuadernos del Vigía and the Association Diente del Oro, to give a poetry recital in the beautiful venue La Expositiva in the poetry cycle La luz del callejón. Colombian poet, Lilián Pallares, and I recited our poetry and projected a selection of our film poems (produced by Antena Blue) with live voice for a very respectful and appreciative audience.

The presentation formed part of the XXXIV Granada Book Fair which ran from the 17 to 26 April, 2015. As well as the book stands in a relaxing leafy avenue there were a series of book presentations, including A las órdenes del viento (Valparaíso Ediciones) by Spanish poet Raquel Lanseros, book signings, panel discussions on the state of publishing for small publishers and an exhibition Carroll and Alice, celebrating 150 years of Alice in Wonderland.

One of the highlights of the Fair was the annual football match between Poets and Narrators organized by Cuadernos del Vigía and the Association Diente del Oro. In it's seventh edition it has become a classic in the literature-sports panorama. This year the teams played in memory of the late Spanish writers, Félix Grande for the poets and Ana María Matute for the narrators. The kick-off was taken by the official poet of the book fair, Luis Muñoz. As to be expected of writers and poets the rules were disobeyed. The referee Juan Carlos Friebe only showed one card, a credit card, to no one in particular, and although the poets won the match 6-5, the narrators then went on to win the penalty shoot-out. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the only injuries were a little sunburn fortunately as we heard some of the players hadn't exercised since the previous year.

We took the opportunity to ask the players to donate words for the Spanish poetry project we run called Palabras Prestadas which celebrates its 76th edition. Poets from around the Spanish-speaking world then send us their poems including the five donated words which on this occasion are: house, calibre, waist, spherical and fossil. You can see moments from the match on Youtube below.

The match was followed by a noisy lunch with typical Andalusian fare, cervezas and tapas, after which Lilián and I got lost in the neighbourhoods of the Albaicín and Sacromonte with their spectacular views towards the Alhambra Palace. I also loved the breakfasts by the river in Las Titas with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains visible through the trees which sparked our appetites for the amazing ice cream of Los Italianos in the Gran Vía. Three nights there was hardly enough time, maybe next visit we will make it to the tourist-filled Alhambra.

Written by

Charles Olsen

1 Dec 2015