Saturday, June 30, 2012

Binge Poetry

Poets are notoriously a hard up bunch, and money for poetry is always in short supply; yet every now and then poetry gets a bit of a windfall, and rather than save it for a rainy day, like a dock worker picking up his paycheck on a Friday, poetry tends to go and spend it on a big party. Chances are the next day there will be plenty of regret, an empty wallet and a thick head, but at least it was a good do. The biggest party of the lot is the Olympics - the most expensive binge the country has ever had - but as part of the cultural Olympiad poetry has decided not just to have a big party but to invite all its friends. So the Poetry Parnassus sees a poet from every competing nation descend on the UK, though mostly on London, for a few days of "stuff." I say "stuff" because to be honest I'm not quite sure what is going on. As usual, poetry's big events seem to happen at a considerable distance from its everyday - both geographically (its always London) and organisationally. Though there are some readings of Carcanet poets in Manchester and Arc poets in Hebden this seems a party to which hasn't made much effort to involve the rest of poetry, (with the caveat that most London poetry organisations seem to have something going on during the week), which is a shame, as British poetry frequently needs reminding that their artform is an international one, and there are some admirable initiatives around poets who don't have the freedom that we have (he says, carefully.) As I say, its a bit of a binge, and if you're around to enjoy it, then please do - lets hope there are some new connections made between nations and poets. I think it starts today but the South Bank website is confusing as hell, so I'd suggest you just head over there and look for the couplets.

Want to read some of the poems then explore the Guardian's interactive map here.
Or buy the Bloodaxe anthology of the event here.
Lousy one-pager on the London 2012 website here  
And equally hard-to-find page on South Bank Centre's website here.

No comments: