An Afternoon at the Blue Metropolis Festival

Hotel 10 is the hotspot of Blue Metropolis, a three day festival filled with discussions, literature and poetry. Within the cosy hotel, there were several rooms available where the visitors of the festival could enjoy the rich programming and could go for a snack inbetween the busy and varied schedule. Because most events are free of charge or an affordable 8 to 10 dollars, it is super easy for all to plunge into discoveries of writers and poets and conversations.

I had the pleasure to attend two such wonderful encounters.

First I participated  in Espace Godin at the Jardins imaginaires, where Armelle Chitrit, and Rae Marie Taylor presented a bilingual performance of Armelle Chitrit’s poetry. Intertwined with a beautiful soundtrack, we could hear the poetry in Arabic, accompanied by music on drums and an oud, a short stringed lute. The main theme of Chitrit’s poetry is female sensuality, which was mostly associated with fruits. With movement and big gusto, both ladies provided an hour-long poetic experience.

After this presentation I participated in In the spirit of Frida, a panel conversation with three Mexican born writers of Jewish descendent: Margo Glantz, Martha Bátiz, and Yael Weiss.

Yael Weiss is the author of four books, the most recent being Los muros de aire y otras crónicas de frontera, which is a compilation of five reports by the writer about time she spent in the border cities of Ciudad Hidalgo, Ciudad Juárez, Tenosique, Tijuana and Reynosa. Based on the testimony of women, children and men from Central America and elsewhere in the world, Weiss tells the story of the travels on Mexican soil of people who flee hunger, danger, precarious labour conditions and drug trafficking in a bid to reach the United States, where a series of new challenges awaits them, some of them more dangerous than they might imagine.

In this conversation at Blue Metropolis she shared her family history as well as her concerns  with the current situation in Gaza and Israel. Coming from a Jewish background and not being an Israeli citizen, she felt concerned and destabilized, which was a touching and vulnerable part of the interview.

Martha Batiz is a Mexican-Canadian writer who was born and raised Mexico City but has been living in Toronto since 2003. She started publishing in 1993 at age 22. She shared as well her family history and her fist short story about how her upbringing and roots made her want to become a writer. A feminist view on war crimes such as rape dominated her discussion and her feisty and courageous input was moving.

Lats but not least Margo Glantz took the microphone. Margo Glantz is a Mexican writer, a member of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua, and the 2010 recipient of the FIL Literary Award. Her novels The Wake and The Family Tree have been translated into English. She was witty and upfront, talking about her family history as well as how Frida Kalo was on the cover of her first book and how that took the book sales to a rise!

Nourished and inspired I left Hotel 10 and I am looking forward for the line up of Blue Metropolis of 2025.

The Blue Metropolis Festival took place in Montreal from April 25 to 28th. Keep an eye on the website HERE for news of the event in 2025.