Poets appearing in 2006 include Lemn Sissay, Kwame Dawes, Simon Armitage, Jane Hirshfield, Tomas Tranströmer, John Kinsella, Sharon Olds, Elke Schmitter, Lavinia Greenlaw, Gabeba Baderoon, Paul Farley, Paul Muldoon and John Burnside.
Since its inception, this landmark festival has attracted world-renowned names, including Allen Ginsberg, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, John Ashbery, Derek Walcott, Czeslaw Milosz, Michael Ondaatje, Michael Donaghy, Margaret Atwood, August Kleinzahler and Jaap Blonk.
Highlights of this year’s festival include:
Lemn Sissay as Poet in Residence – writing a new poem everyday to be projected on to the Royal Festival Hall itself, writing a daily blog and debating whether performance poetry is dead
The premiere of Kwame Dawes’ Wisteria: Twilight Songs from the Swamp Country, a set of poems by Kwame Dawes, by composer Kevin Simmonds and played by an eleven piece orchestra from South Carolina
John Burnside and John Kinsella discuss poetry, the natural world and the issue of climate change
UK premiere of ARAPIAT, Israeli-Arab rappers who write about social issues, attitudes and what it means to be Arab and female in the 21st century
50th anniversary celebration of Brecht with new work by German and UK poets: David Constantine, Adrian Mitchell, Ulrike Draesner, Lavinia Greenlaw, Albert Ostermaier and Bert Papenfuss
Stand-up poet Luke Wright debates whether performance poetry is dead with Lemn Sissay
Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer presents poems, in new translations by Robin Robertson and read by actor Krister Henriksson
Best selling German novelist Elke Schmitter gives her first UK poetry reading with new translations by Karen Leeder
In a grand finale Finnish poet, Tua Forsström shares a platform with top poets Sharon Olds, Robin Robertson and Paul Muldoon
The Poetry Lounge – Specially designed for Poetry International 2006, the Poetry Lounge is a place where you can pause and soak up the Festival, browse recently published poetry books, take part in a reading group or check the Festival website. You can also find out more about the Festival poets by browsing news cuttings courtesy of the Poetry Library. Or you can just relax, chat with poets and festival-goers and enjoy the atmosphere.
Also around the building you can read poetry created by people who live and work in Lower Marsh, one of the liveliest streets in Waterloo, and write back your memories of where you come from in our Trading Places project.
Hsiao-Chi Tsai is the designer for the Poetry International set and Poetry Lounge for 2006.