Since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Storm and the concern about the Gaza war, a national call was made to collect and compile a collection of poems in this field, announced the festival secretary Hadi Malekpur during a press conference at Tehran’s Art Bureau on Sunday. 

Several cultural and literary organizations have joined forces to organize the event, he added.

The congress will feature poems with an epic approach to the Gaza conflict, Malekpur noted.

The festival has received close to 400 submissions so far, with the deadline for entries falling on December 1, he said and added, “While the majority of the poems received are of a classical style, there have also been modern and free verse pieces submitted.”

The closing ceremony, scheduled for early January, will take place at one of the halls of the Art Bureau, where the selected works will be awarded, he mentioned. 

The festival aims to convey a message to the world that Iran has not forgotten its support for Palestine, he stated. 

For his part, Ali Davudi, the representative of the Art Bureau highlighted the almost century-long reality of the Palestinian cause and the role of poets in defending it through their art and words. 

He noted that after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the country’s support for the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem’s freedom has been reflected in poetry, and in this cycle, the focus on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian cause has increased. 

Davudi expressed pride that the poets’ response to this issue is great. 

Iranian poet Qassem Sarrafan also emphasized that poets represent the artistic community and will advocate for a solidarity movement for Palestinian poetry in this congress. 

He stated that this festival is a response to the aggression and siege and a message to the world that Palestinians are still alive.

Since October 7, Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Storm in response to the escalating Israeli abuses against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. As a result, Israel has been conducting airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Shockingly, more than 11,000 Palestinians, with over 7,000 of them being innocent children, have fallen victim to these devastating Israeli bombings.

Israel’s relentless bombings on Gaza have taken an alarming toll on the lives of the civilian population. The sheer number of casualties, especially children, is deeply concerning and highlights the immense suffering inflicted upon the Palestinian people.