‘Poets are the tramps of literature’ Simon Armitage quipped as he took to the rostrum to elaborate on plans for the poetry parnassus – the biggest congregation of poets the world may have ever beheld at South Bank Centre’s Festival of the World.
The festival and poetical nexus delectibly hopes to extoll the virtues of art next to sport as the sharing and promise of nations. South Bank, as with last summer, will engage with visitors as a swath of artistic installations. The poetry aspect of the Festival of the World is a vestige of the nomadic nature of this facet of literature: moving into exile, superseding boundaries of disadvantage and elucidating ethnic and personal experience.
The audience is anybody familiar or unfamiliar, expert or ignorant as the extraordinary power of expunging through language is strewn across the Thames. The beautiful notion of art and poetry as a translatable torch-bearer of healing gaps between seas and borders will turn from metaphor as half a ton of poems on bookmarks is dropped from a helicopter over London. An immense display of the proliferation and much deserved focus of the world onto verse.