The International Poetry Festival Returns, focusing on Ecopoetry and Activism at the Southbank Centre.

Image Credit; Olive Senior, poet – appears at Poetry International

Returning for the first time since 2019, Poetry International, the major biannual festival celebrates poets, using their voice to preserve the environment and language. This is part of the Southbank Centre’s multi-artform season of events on the climate, called Planet Summer. 

The festival runs from 21 – 23  July 2023. This year the line-up includes renowned ecopoets; CAConrad, John Kinsella, Jorie Graham and Yang Lian. All presenting  new work and leading workshops for the public. Performances and a writing workshop from the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Olive Senior (pictured above) and recordings in Jamaican Patois of works by Ceder Lewisohn are events to look out for.

In addition, performances with Indonesian poet Khairani Barokka, Macedonian poet Lidija Dimkovska and Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, one of the leading African poets writing in Arabic today will be featured. Zimbabwean writer & sound artist Belinda Zhawi will appear at the 70th anniversary celebration of the National Poetry Library, the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world, on the final day of the festival.

Former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes created the festival as a response to the global polarisation of east and west during the Cold War. Writing in his introduction to the brochure in 1967, Hughes said: ‘The idea of global unity is not new, but the absolute necessity of it has only just arrived, like a sudden radical alteration of the sun.’ In 2023, Poetry International brings attention to one of the most pressing global issues – the climate crisis.

For the full lineup of events visit: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/poetry-international

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