Centre for Poetry

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A three-day world poetry festival, celebrating the diversity of local and global poetic traditions in London’s East End.


Taster events:

  • 10 October: Poetry to Performance: A Masterclass with Sid Bose. Writer, theatre-maker and performer, Sid Bose, leads this masterclass for young and aspiring writers on how best to take work from page to the stage.  Three performers to be selected to perform at the Globe Road festival in November.  (2.00-4.00, Arts One, for 20 participants). To reserve a place on this course, please submit a brief sample of your work – either a one-page text, a short audio or video recording, or a URL – to  Participants will be notified by 1 October.
  • 11 November: the Mile End Spoken Word Showcase.  Emerging spoken word and performance poets from the Roundhouse collective ‘Spare the Poets’ present their work in what promises to be an exciting and vibrant showcase. (7.00 – 8.30pm, IDEA Store Whitechapel, for 40 participants).
  • 12 November: The Basement Writers and the Stepney School Strike. In 1973, the pupils of a local school came out on strike to support Chris Searle, a student teacher who had been sacked for publishing their poetry. It made national headlines. Join Radio Four journalist Alan Dein as he interviews Chris, followed by a performance by former members of The Basement Writers, the pioneering community workshop group that came next. (6-7.30pm, Tower Hamlets Local History Library).

FRIDAY 13th: Schools Day and Opening

11am-1pm: East End Schools’ Poetry Slam (Octagon)

  • In the first week of November, Eastside Educational Trust will deliver performance poetry workshops in Stebon and Randall Cremer schools.  These will culminate in a poetry slam, in which local schools battle it out in this head to head poetry competition, to be judged by Young Poet Laureate, Aisling Fahey. Featuring Miriam Nash and Michael Vidon.  Closed event, for children from Stebon and Randall Cremer Schools and their parents.

5:00-7:00pm: Poetry and Performance (Octagon)

  • Performances from two of the rising stars in the London poetry scene, Avaes Mohammed and Sid Bose, along with Young Poet Laureate Aisling Fahey and younger poets chosen from the Poetry to Performance masterclass.

8:00-10:00pm: the Globe Road Poetry Festival reading (Octagon)

(£5 entry, £3 unwaged – book tickets via QMUL website)

  • Linton Kwesi Johnson heads a bill of world-renowned poets to give Globe Road’s inaugural reading. Featuring Bangladesh’s premier English-language poet Kaiser Haq, emerging Somali-born Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, and the distinguished Canadian poet M. NourbeSe Philip. Readings to be followed by a Q&A.

SATURDAY 14th: Poetry and Technology

11am–1pm: Poetry and Technology: A workshop for young people (RichMix)

  • The digital creativity organization, Codasign, run a workshop that encourages young people to use technology, coding and electronics, as a springboard for creating their own poetry.  Part of the Ministry of Stories’s Saturday Club.  Limited number of places available for children aged 9-11 and their parents.

11am-6.30pm: Poetry, Artificial Intelligence and Computational Creativity (Octagon)

Computers and poets go head to head in a series of fun, interactive performances and experiments. Audiences can interact with poetry apps, listen to performances by poets in Bangladesh by telephone, and debate the meaning of poetry and creativity with poets, computer scientists and experts. The event will be live-pressed by the Ladies of the Press.

  • 11-12pm: Try out the poetry bots installed around the Octagon.
  • 12-3pm: Designers of the poetry bots present PoeTryMe, the Poetry Machine, WASP, and the Concept Discovery Model alongside performances by poets Ross Sutherland, Theo Chiotis, Hannah Silva, and Andra Simons..
  • 3.30-5pm: Audiences contribute to an experiment in creativity using QMUL’s Concept Discovery Model, followed by a discussion with Shama Rahman, Theo Chiotis, Andra Simons, Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland, and Deborah Seddon.
  • 5.30-6.30pm: Performance by distinguished multimedia artist, writer and performer Caroline Bergvall.

SUNDAY 15th: Poetry across Languages

Day Pass: For a day pass granting access to all ‘Poetry across Languages’ events on Sunday 15th, please reserve your ticket above..

11 am – 12.30pm: Poetry on Globe Road: A Walking Tour (rendezvous at the Octagon)

  • Steven J Fowler leads a walking tour featuring Gareth Evans and Elaine Mitchener investigating poetry in the backstreets of Mile End. Curated by the Enemies Project.

1-3pm: Screening of the film poem ‘Air’ (Film and Drama Studio, Arts Two)

  • Poets and sound artists were invited to re-interpret ‘Air’, a silent film by visual artists Anna Cady and Pauline Thomas. Their interpretations were then re-integrated into the film, creating new, pluridisciplinary artworks. This screening will be followed by a conversation led by Dr Jenny Chamarette

1–3pm: the Shanghati Literary Society

  • Britain’s pre-eminent Bangla literature society presents an afternoon of poetry, performance and song.

4 – 6.00pm: ‘Poetry Across Borders’: A Discussion

  • Poets, experts and poetry enthusiasts from across Globe Road are invited to take part in a dinner party-style, long table discussion on the role of poetry in today’s globalized world. The discussion is open to all, and will feature input from Daljit Nagra, Agnes Agboton, Samira Negrouche, Kaiser Haq, Anthony Joseph, Myung Mi Kim, Tim Atkins, and Zoe Skoulding.  The event will be moderated by Ali Campbell and Maggie Inchley, and utilizes the Long Table format conceived by Lois Weaver

7:00 – 8:30pm: Globe Road: The Closing Performance

  • Daljit Nagra is joined by a bill of internationally-renowned poets to deliver the final reading of the festival. Featuring Myung Mi Kim, Agnes Agboton, Tim Atkins, Anthony Joseph, and a collaborative performance from Samira Negrouche and Zoe Skoulding.

All events will take place in the Octagon, unless otherwise indicated.  The Octagon will also host an exhibition of interactive displays throughout the festival.

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