Shanghai International Poetry Festival: In the age of artificial intelligence

The 8th Shanghai International Poetry Festival with the theme “Innovation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” has officially taken place in the first four days of December 2023). This is one of the important annual literary and cultural events that attracts the attention and participation of many poets from all over China and abroad.

Poet Phan Hoang with poet Germain Droogenbroodt of Belgium
Poet Phan Hoang (center) at a poetry workshop, on the left is Kenyan poet Tony Mochama, and on the right is Polish poet Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda

>> The eighth Shanghai International Poetry Festival

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Official guests of the 8th Shanghai International Poetry Festival came from more than 10 countries, with more than 20 poets, including Nigerian poet Wole Soyinka, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. There are also poets from other countries such as: Hughes Labrusse and Ruling Zhang of France, Germain Droogenbroodt of Belgium, Flaminia Cruciani and Marco Sonzogni of Italy, Margarito Cuellar and Susana Robles Zamarripa of Mexico, Ion Deaconescu of Romania, Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda of Poland, Li Wei of America, Enrique Solinas of Argentina, etc Tony Mochama of Kenya,… and many typical poets representing Chinese provinces: Zhao Lihong, Ouyang Jeanghe, Chen Xianfa, Na Ye, Shen Wei, An Haiyin, Yang Xiu Li, Zhao Si,…

Poet Phan Hoang with poet Hughes Labrusse of France on the Huangpu River

I was the only Vietnamese poet invited to the 8th Shanghai International Poetry Festival. All travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the organizers, with support from the government and Shanghai-based businesses.

The opening ceremony took place solemnly in a packed hall with the participation of representatives of Shanghai city leaders and literary and artistic circles. Poet Wole Soyinka was honored to be awarded the Golden Magnolia Award of this poetry festival by the organizers, which according to the jury: “With his special poems, Wole Soyinka has built a large and profound poetry garden. His poems, full of powerful words, sincere attitudes, deep thoughts, wonderful images and whimsical ideas, convey the sadness and love of the world, and express the pursuit of truth, vision of the future and yearning for peace.”.

Poet Phan Hoang with poet Na Ye of Chinese on the Huangpu River

During the four official days of the 8th Shanghai International Poetry Festival, there are also rich, diverse and respectful literary activities. A truly poetic festive atmosphere pervades the metropolis city. Banners and banners with portraits of poets appeared in many places. Poets not only have the opportunity to show their works, exchange poetic scholarships with each other, but also visit many typical cultural sites, enjoy specialty cuisine, interact with poetry lovers of Shanghai: Shanghai Library, Jing’an District Library, Ximin Newspaper, Sinan Publishing, Ba Kim Writers Souvenir,…

Poet Phan Hoang with poet Chen Xianfa of Chinese
Poet Le Wei of America with poet Phan Hoang in Ba Kim Writers Souvenir

One of the main contents of this poetry festival is expected to be the workshop “In the age ofartificial intelligence”. All the guest poets took turns giving speeches. Each poet has a different way of presenting from different cultural and scientific perspectives, but in general, they all affirm the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in human life and the support of tools for literature, art and poetry in particular.

Poet Zhao Lihong, chairman of the ShanghaiWriters Association, chairman of theShanghai International Poetry Festival Committee, said: “In the current high-tech era, with the rapid development of AI, we must pay attention to how AI and humanities converge, explore how AI will support literary and poetic creation, and rethink the relationship between humanity and AI.” He added: “We also hope to connect the world with poetry, fully expressing the vitality and charm of Chinese culture.”

Poet Flaminia Cruciani of Italy with poet Phan Hoang
Poet Enrique Solina of Argentina, poet Phan Hoàng of Vietnamese and poet Margarito Cuellar of Mexico
Poet Phan Hoang with poet An Haiyin of Chinese

In my speech, I said that Vietnam is a country rich in literary and poetic traditions. Like China and many other countries, poetry has become an indispensable spiritual food in people’s lives. Artificial intelligence is bringing many benefits to humanity. But artificial intelligence cannot replace the human soul. Poetry is the voice of the soul. Therefore, artificial intelligence can only be a tool to help poets in daily life, not replace the poet’s own specialty voice.

The world is fraught with uncertainty and vulnerability. Since the reunion of the 8th Shanghai International Poetry Festival, poets around the world need to connect more with each other, raise strong poetic voices to help eliminate the barrier of hatred, people live together more harmoniously, more compassionately, happier in the overwhelming love between people and between people and heaven Of course. And of course, in the flow of the times, AI will become an effective tool, supporting our humanistic poetic action!


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