POETRY – SOUTHBANK POETRY FESTIVAL
The Southbank Centre’s biennial Poetry International festival, founded by Ted Hughes in 1967, is held over nine days and consists of readings, music, translation, new commissions, free events and innovative live performances. Poets from more than twenty countries will congregate in the riverside venue’s halls and spaces – to meet, debate and offer their poetic perspectives on a changing world.
As the Cold War loomed large as inspiration for the first Poetry International, so the conflicts and shifting geo-political fault lines that impact on all our lives today, provide one of the central themes of the festival nearly half a century on. Particular focuses on poets and poetry from the Middle East – including the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Syria – and Ireland, powerfully demonstrate the artform’s enduring ability to anticipate and envision change and transcend barriers of censorship, prejudice and conflict. Landscape and place make an impression on Poetry International in 2010, from re-imaginings of the landscape of the British Isles to the influence of ocean currents on global history.
· Carol Ann Duffy curates a special evening of readings by Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay and the Poet Laureate herself, accompanied by musician John Sampson
· Suheir Hammad & Tashweesh – a dynamic, live collaboration between renowned Palestinian poet and audio-visual offshoot of the acclaimed Ramallah Underground
· Nathalie Handal – the award winning Haitian-born Palestinian poet reads from her latest collection, Love and Strange Horses, and curates an evening of readings from emerging poets
· Poetry Parnassus – Simon Armitage invites Canada’s Anne Carson, New Zealand’s Bill Manhire and Zimbabwe’s Togara Muzanenhamo to launch Southbank Centre’s ambitious poetic response to the London 2012 Games
· Mourid Barghouti – legendary Palestinian poet and his son Tamim Al-Barghouti talks to Palfest director and novelist Ahdaf Soueif
· Nabeel Yasin – one of Iraq’s most celebrated poets talks to his biographer Jo Tatchell
· Elmaz Abinader, Paul Durcan, Paul Muldoon, Lisa Suhair Majaj – poets and writers from Ireland and the Arab-American world explore common ground
· Brian Turner – acclaimed poet and Iraq War veteran reads from new work Phantom Noise
· Free Events – include the ‘Fabric of War’ exhibition in the Saison Poetry Library, daily Poetry Lunch readings and an open invitation to upload pictures and poems to GPS (Global Poetry System)