Explore A World Of Poetry At The Southbank Centre

By Zoe Craig Last edited 31 months ago
Explore A World Of Poetry At The Southbank Centre

Photo by Seamus Murphy

The Southbank Centre's biennial Poetry International festival is back.

This year's celebration of the magic of poetry features four days of readings, workshops, performances, music, and films focusing on the themes of conflict, war, censorship and shifting politics.

Since it was started by Ted Hughes back in 1967, the Poetry International festival has featured poetry from all over the world, and this year is no exception. Head to the Southbank, and you'll be greeted by poets from Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Jamaica, USA, France, Switzerland and the UK; and you can hear work in multiple languages including Pashto, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.

The festival has a really varied programme: you can hear from contemporary war poets, learn about the women risking their lives to write poetry in Afghanistan, hear jazz improvisations from the USA, and watch short films from Iran and Afghanistan. Far from a passive programme, there are many ways to get involved too: there are workshops around feminist poetry, activist poetry and the poetry of witness. Throughout the festival, you can pop into the Poetry Library, largest public collection of modern poetry in the world, on the Ballroom Floor.

Family events on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 give little'uns the chance to learn songs and poems from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and add to the Poetry Library in the Around The World in 80 Poems project.

The Southbank Centre's Poetry International Festival runs from 23-26 July. See the full programme for details of individual events.

Last Updated 07 July 2015