Over the past week I found myself in the bowels of the Royal Festival Hall listening to a discussion on death, and up at the heights of the roof garden listening to the scenes of a Latvian countryside. I was a witness to the extraordinary sight of 100,000 poems falling from the sky, and risked my life watching a spoken word event in a skate park. From intimate readings to large gatherings I immersed myself in poetry.
But no matter how much I enjoyed these events it was the closeness and solidarity felt by being so close amongst the world’s poets. I frequently found myself critiquing an event with a member of the audience only to watch them read in the next event. I found myself in heated discussions in subjects such as prose poetry with a well-known formalist and an avant-garde poet.
Seeing myself as a member of Poet in the City I was struck by all the poets I recognised and knew from past Pinc events. Not only the UK envoy Jo Shapcott , there were familiar faces such as: Imitiaz Dharker (Pakistan), Ellisa Biagnini (Italy), Nikola Mdzirov (Macedonia), Seamus Heaney (Ireland) and many more.
On the Sunday leaving the Southbank with a bag full of poetry and head full of names, I left with the conclusion that there is a world of poetry beyond this city of ours and Poet In The City’s continuing mission to bring domestic and international, living and dead poets, to the attention of new audiences is as noble as ever. With organisations like Modern Poetry in Translation, and Carcanet, it is PinC’s shared role to maintain the spirit of Parnassus long after the poets arrive home and the London Olympics have come to an end.