Sunday, July 22, 2012

Poetry Monday: Poetry Parnassus

Firstly, I'm back home now.  Thanks for indulging my blog posts on poets of the US east coast as I made my way forward in space and backwards in time (more on that in poetry form later I suspect).  There was indeed a great deal of poetry on my trip, but since the 2012 Olympics begins this week and Olympic fever is spreading rapidly like an iron-pumped virus everywhere I turn, I thought I'd call attention to an event held in London at the Southbank Centre, as a precursar to the event.  Poetry Parnassus is finished now, but it brought together poets from over 145 countries for a series of readings, workshops, debates and "jives" (I'll leave the meaning of "jive" to your imagination).  The event began with a helicopter drop of 100,000 bookmark-sized poems which floated across the city as far as Camberwell, and progressed with readings by Seamus Heaney,Wole Soyinka, John Kinsella from Australia (who waved his usual fees), Kay Ryan, Jang Jin-sung and a welter of other poets - some well known and others less well-known - from around the world. Also included was poet Simon Armitage, who organised the event as a  "non-commercial, non-corporate and decidedly non-competitive happening". His own reading wasn't a poem, but rather from his nonfiction account of walking the Pennine Way. I include it on Poetry Monday though because he travelled as 'modern troubadour', giving poetry readings for food. The reading is punctuated by music and is quite funny:
Simon Armitage Walking Home Launch by southbankcentre

All of the poetry is captured in an anthology titled The World Record, published by Bloodaxe Books with Southbank Centre.You can listen to a number of podcasts of the event here:, and if you click on the poet link, you can also read interviews and profiles of each of the poets, sorted by country. 

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