Book now: Poetry Parnassus – six poets from six continents read their work, including Seamus Heaney and Wole Soyinka
Poetry Parnassus, part of the London Festival and curated by Simon Armitage, is the largest poetry festival in the UK, and during the last week of June it is gathering together a huge number of poets, spoken word artists, story tellers, rappers and singers from all over the world. There will be around a hundred events: readings, talks, workshops and activities – many of which are free, and all of which sound totally great and inspiring. If you are at all interested in poetry or the spoken word, definitely check out the programme, here.
If we had to pick one single event to book for, however, it would be Continental Shift on Friday 29th June, when six poets from six continents come together to read their work with two of the UK’s finest poets, Jo Shapcott and Simon Armitage. The readings are in English, Korean and Spanish, and the poets include Seamus Heaney (Ireland) and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), as well as Kay Ryan from the USA, Kim Hyesoon from South Korea, Claribel Algeria from Nicaragua and Bill Manhire from New Zealand. So, yes, that means for the lofty price of about £15 you get to hear two Nobel Laureates (Heaney and Soyinka), two Poet Laureates (Ryan and Manhire) and a Gold Medallist (Shapcott). More to the point, we’ve heard Heaney read his work several times before and honestly, it’s a privilege. So to get him and Wole Soyinka (Wole Soyinka, folks!) and all the others all on stage all at once? We’re not missing that. Be warned though: tickets in the front stalls are nearly gone, and the others will go fast, so really, really do book now for this one.