Poet Simon Armitage eyes Olympic gig for 2012

November 4th, 2010 - 6:36 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 4 (ANI): Simon Armitage has launched an initiative to assemble poets from all of the participating Olympic nations for London’s 2012 games.

“My hunch is this will be the biggest poetry event ever - a truly global coming together of poets,” the poet told the BBC.

“It’s insanely ambitious. There are political issues, geographical issues, linguistic issues all to be overcome,” said Armitage.

The unique congregation, called Poetry Parnassus, would take place at the Southbank Centre for a week during the 2012 Olympics.

Armitage said poets from almost every continent were invited to perform at the launch - part of the Poetry International 2010 festival.

“Last night was a flavour of the type of event that you get poets of different cultures and languages into the same room,” he said.

“It shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. Colombian poet William Ospina read entirely in Spanish and his poems appeared above him on a screen translated into English. Somehow that polarity between the text above him and his voice makes for this very powerful linguistic cocktail,” he added.

A poet from Zimbabwe, Togara Muzanenhamo, who had been invited to read at the launch, was unable to enter the UK due to visa restrictions.

“We couldn’t get a poet from Antarctica. My gut feeling is that there are poets absolutely everywhere, and there is probably someone in a hut out there who’s been there for five years writing poems about snow. So could they make themselves known…?” Armitage said.

Every poet is expected to donate one of his/her own books to the Poetry Library’s collection at the Southbank Centre that celebrates its 100th birthday in the Olympic year. (ANI)

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