Tuesday March 6 at 7 for 7.30
West Greenwich Library, Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN
World’s Words, a celebration of languages and cultures through poetry and storytelling. Part of the BBC’s Civilisations Festival, running March 2-11 in Museums, Galleries and Libraries nationwide. Nearly 50 years after Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, the BBC is going to screen a new series, which expands the concept, which was limited to Western Civilisation from the Dark Ages onwards, to other cultures and civilisations.
And so we shall also be looking at diverse cultures, rooted in very ancient times and also very modern, shaped by recent histories of migration, wars, assimilation, nostalgia, new identities… And at how language and languages (and translation) are able to convey all this and facilitate understanding.
With our very own Mick Delap, Lorraine Mariner and Fiona Moore, and introducing to Greenwich poet and translator Stephen Watts, Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh, Bangladeshi poets Shamim Azad and Farah Naz and Greek poet Kostya Tsolákis. FREE
Adnan Al Sayegh is one of the foremost Iraqi poets to reach artistic maturity and fame in the 1980s. After being conscripted in the Iran-Iraq war and fighting for many years, his poetry indicting injustice and oppression displeased Saddam and forced him into exile, first to Jordan and Lebanon and eventually to Sweden and England. He’s been living in London with his family since 2004. He writes in Arabic and has performed in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Adnan has received several prestigious poetry prizes and his work has been translated into many languages.
Shamim Azad left Bangladesh in 1990 and has lived in London ever since. She is a bilingual author, journalist, performance poet and storyteller. She has over 30 books and several plays to her credit. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and at the London Cultural Olympiad in 2012 and belongs to Apples and Snakes, the largest educational poetry organisation in the UK. Last year Shamim won the Waliullah Award from the Bangla Academy for her overall contribution to literature abroad.
Mick Delap is a long time Greenwich resident, with Irish connections. He waited till he had retired from the BBC World Service in 2000 to turn seriously to writing. It didn’t take long for his poetry to win praise and prizes. In his latest collection, Opening Time, Mick writes about his family life in England, his search for traces of his father’s wartime visit to the Hindu Kush. The island of Valentia, Co. Kerry, where his grandfather lived, features large in Mick’s life and poetry as it is also the starting point for Mick’s sailing adventures: as sailor-poet he celebrates the magnificence of the Atlantic and the Shannon, and chronicles their different histories.
Lorraine Mariner lives in London and works at The National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre. She has published two collections with Picador, “Furniture” (2009) and “There Will Be No More Nonsense” (2014) and has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize twice for Best Single Poem and Best First Collection and for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize. She is currently working on her third collection and writing about her paternal grandparents, immigrants from Ireland and Greece, who made their home in London.
Fiona Moore Fiona Moore lives in Greenwich. Her first collection, The Distal Point, will come out from HappenStance in July 2018. Fiona’s pamphlet The Only Reason for Time (HappenStance, 2013) was chosen as one of The Guardian’s poetry books of the year. A short pamphlet, Night Letter, was shortlisted for the 2016 Michael Marks Awards. She blogs occasionally at Displacement, writes reviews (winning the Saboteur Best Reviewer Award in 2014) and was assistant editor of The Rialto for several years. She is co-editing an issue of Magma on the theme of climate change, to come out in autumn 2018.
Farah Naz was born in Bangladesh and now lives in Lewisham. She is a poet, translator, storyteller, writer and teacher. Her articles have appeared in British and Bangladeshi newspapers, and she performs with the acclaimed storytelling group ‘EAST’, whose members belong (and also transcend) the various ethnicities and religions present in London’s East End. Her Maya – Mirror of the Soul was co-written with fellow poet Ferdous Jalil and was published in 2004.
Kostya Tsolákis was born in Greece in 1981. He studied at the University of Warwick, graduating in History subsequently receiving an MA in Writing. In 2017 a portfolio of his work was shortlisted for ‘Primers 3’, selected by The Poetry School UK and Nine Arches Press. He writes in English while very interested in his Greek and German roots. He lives and works in London.
Stephen Watts is a poet, translator and editor with roots in the Italian Alps. He translates poetry from Arabic, Slovene and Italian and has edited a number of anthologies. Living in Whitechapel, he is very involved with the Bangladeshi culture and community of the East End. His particular interests are languages, creativity and well being and these topics are the focus of his workshops and residencies.
On Wednesday March 7, storyteller Rich Sylvester and Farah Naz will facilitate three short storytelling sessions with pupils of James Wolfe Primary School. This event is not open to the public, but I’m immensely excited about it and about the collaboration with this wonderful local school.
Tuesday April 17 at 6.45 for 7
The Crypt, St Margaret’s Church, Lee Terrace, Blackheath SE13 5DL
Walt Whitman with Graham Fawcett. More details and booking information nearer the time.
Tuesday May 22 at 7 for 7.30
West Greenwich Library, Greenwich High Road, SE10 8NN
Cinnamon Press returns to Greenwich with a crop of four diverse poets reading from their latest collections: Frank Dullaghan, Neil Elder, Daphne Gloag and Robin Thomas.
Dates for your diaries: June 27 and October 30 (Cinnamon Press book launches), September 11 and November 13 (Gerald Manley Hopkins and Anna Akhmatova, respectively, with Graham Fawcett).
Please note: the June 27, September 11 and November 13 events will take place in the Treehouse, the lovely top floor room at the Greenwich Tavern (corner of Nevada Street and King William Walk, facing the Park).