I will be writing this blog, hopefully full of videos, images, artworks and recollections throughout the Poetry Parnassus which is begins tomorrow morning and runs all the way to Sunday evening.
We had our first contact this evening, a chance for many of the poets who are arriving minute by minute from around the world to meet with their British counterparts and the myriad of tireless organisers from the Southbank centre. Often these occasions feel like a slightly tepid school disco but everyone was genuinely enthused and relaxed and in a wholly earnest and positive mood. The ambition of the project, it’s clear desire to strike out against cynicism has really left everyone who is lucky enough to be part of this project feeling humbled by its size and keen to make their work speak. There is so much good work going to come out of the next six days, not just the readings, but the interchange between poets, their methodologies and the chance happenings which are the lifeblood of such understanding. This sense of creative freedom, to have the remarkable space we have in which to discuss, to write, to collaborate, really hit home, sitting in the Poet’s village. With so many poets around too, over 200 in all, the endless possible interchanges are almost overwhelming.
Simon Armitage and Martin Colthorpe gave warm, welcoming speeches and Jude Kelly spoke with a real sense of inspiration and purpose about the project and its origins, and its goals. I will quite rightly end this slight beginning to the blog by bringing attention to the remarkable work of Anna Selby and Bea Colley, Jana Stefanovska and Emma Mottram, who, amongst many others, have been astounding under heavy fire in putting the thing together