In his programme notes for the first ever Poetry International festival in 1967, Ted Hughes wrote that poetry: “is a universal language of understanding in which we can all hope to meet.” Southbank Centre’s 18th biennial Poetry International festival returns this weekend for readings, music, translation, new commissions, free events and innovative live performances.
Building on the success of Poetry Parnassus 2012, over 100 poets, musicians, artists and performers from more than 20 countries will congregate in the riverside venue’s halls and outdoor spaces. The winner of the adult category in the poetry film competition Shot Through The Heart will be announced on 18 July, the prize of both categories includes a screening at the 7th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin this October.
Jude Kelly, Artist Director comments on the mission behind the event: “The festival was created to get poetry out from behind the Iron Curtain and to confront people with work from abroad that would unsettle and inspire them.” This reinforces the foundations Hughes’ laid for the festival in terms of his political and poetic vision; to see the world as it is now, to understand what it is like to write from under censorship, suppression or conflict, and to experience some of the greatest poetry, spoken word and rap being written today.
Poetry International is part of Southbank Centre’s three month long Festival of Love on until 31 August; an exploration of love in all its guises – from love of humanity to friendship, romantic love and family love.
Poetry International Festival, Southbank Centre, London, until 24 July. For more information visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
1. Southbank Centre by Belinda Lawley.
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