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Poets sought for London festival

  • Date: 20 April 2012
  • Area: International, London
Southbank Centre sign

The Southbank Centre in London is set to host the Poetry Parnassus festival this summer. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Officials behind one of London's biggest festivals are on the hunt for poets to perform on the city's Southbank.

Funded by the Arts Council Poetry Parnussus, which celebrates poetry and verse from around the world, intends to host performances from each of the 204 nations competing in the London 2012 Olympics and is still short of representatives from 23 countries.

Poets from some of the world's most troubled countries are set to travel to the UK for the Ancient Greek-inspired event, including North Korean Jang Jin Seong, who used to perform poetry for the late dictator Kim Jong-il before fleeing the oppressive regime to live in South Korea.

Commenting on the upcoming event which is is part of London Festival 2012, the Southbank Centre's Artistic Director Jude Kelly said: 'Poetry Parnassus will be a monumental and unique happening which will make world history.

'As London welcomes the world this summer, we look to art as an agent for social change and as a testimony to human inspiration. We welcome poetry in all its guises - poetry as protest, poetry for peace and poetry for poetry's sake.'

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, London of Arts Council England, said:

'London is going to host a tremendous mix of artistic as well as sporting talent this summer. To have so many poets, from so many different countries and cultures is truly an Olympic feat. 

'Poetry Parnassus promises to be a very special event for 2012 and we hope it will be remembered for many years to come.'

For more information and to apply to take part in the event, visit the Southbank Centre website.