Southbank Centre’s biennial Poetry International festival was founded by Ted Hughes in 1967.
It returns this year from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 July with talks, readings and innovative live performances. The packed line-up features music, translation, new commissions and free events.
Poets meet, debate and offer their perspectives on a changing world. During the first Poetry International the Cold War loomed large as inspiration. Nearly half a century on, the conflicts and shifting geo-political fault lines that impact on all our lives today provide one of the central themes of the festival.
It includes a special focus on poets and poetry from the Middle East; including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, the Palestinian Territories and Syria – powerfully demonstrating poetry's enduring ability to anticipate and envision change and transcend barriers of censorship, prejudice and conflict.
The festival features: Choman Hardi, Jo Shapcott, Warsan Shire, Eliza Griswold, Kei Miller, Imtiaz Dharker, Harriet Gilbert, Pascale Petit, Malika Booker, Ghareeb Iskander, Nick Makoha, Rafeef Ziadah, Paul Batchelor, Sasha Dugdale, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Sean Haefeli, Etta Ermini, Nick Makoha, Saleem Khan, Aviva Dautch, Dilawar Khan, Zahid Ullah Khan, Jasmine Cooray, Sahera Sharif, Mina Ibrahim Khil, Shkola Zadran, Stephen Watts, Hubert Moore, Ebrahim Golestan, Golan Haji, Adnan al-Sayegh, Shazea Qureshi, Zaffar Kunial, Sophie Herxheimer, Nasrin Parvaz, Ziba Karbassi, Ria Hartley, Gael Le Cornec, Afshan Lodhi, Lucy Sheen and Yomi Sode.