Robot poets, international names, slams and debate at the inaugural Globe Road Poetry Festival

Some of the world’s best known international poets will perform in East London this November at the inaugural Globe Road Poetry Festival.

10 September 2015

Curated by Andrea Brady, Professor of Poetry at Queen Mary University of London, the three day festival (November 13 – 15), celebrates the diversity of local and global poetic traditions in London’s ever-changing East End. The festival includes free readings, artificial intelligence workshops with poetry ‘bots’, performance workshops, musical performances, exhibitions and a poetry slam competition for local school children.

Professor Brady said: “From the anti-fascist Basement Writers of the 1970s, to the hugely popular contemporary Bangla and slam poetry scenes, the borough has always been a melting pot of languages, cultures and literatures. The festival brings together poets and performers of all backgrounds to celebrate the stunning array of international poetry available on our doorstep.”

Included in the programme are free readings from internationally renowned poets Linton Kwesi  Johnson, Myung Mi Kim, Daljit Nagra, Kaiser Haq and M. NourbeSe Philip. The theme of the 2015 festival is Translation and Technology. A series of taster events, as well as more than ten free events on the festival weekend, will explore how translation and technology can both create and bridge divides, enable new forms of creativity and engage new audiences with traditional and experimental poetic forms.

Professor Brady added: “The programme has a global perspective but the heart of the festival is firmly is East London. Poetry should be inclusive, and these free events are for the whole community. We want to attract a diverse audience and we hope that there’s something at the festival for everyone, regardless of age, background or language.”

The festival takes place at Queen Mary University of London (and associated venues in the Tower Hamlets) on the weekend of 13 – 15 November 2015. The vast majority of the events are free, and have been developed with the support, expertise and guidance of local arts, educational and community groups. The festival is funded by the Arts Council England and the QMUL Centre for Public Engagement.

Festival programme and tickets

Taster events (October / November)

A masterclass for young and aspiring writers, led by writer, theatre-maker, and performer Sid Bose
Saturday 10 October, 2015, 2pm – 4pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Performances from Roundhouse collectives ‘Spare the Poets’ and ‘Kid Glove’
Wednesday 11 November, 2015, 7pm – 8.30 pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Readings about the history of the ground-breaking Basement Writers and the Stepney School Strike
Thursday 12 November, 2015, 7.30pm – 10pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Festival opening and schools day (13 November)

East End Schools poetry slam competition judged by Young Poet Laureate, Aisling Fahey
Friday 13 November, 2015, 11am – 1pm [Free]
Attendance is for school children only

Performances by rising stars Avaes Mohammed, Sid Bose, and Young Poet Laureate Aisling Fahey
Friday 13 November, 2015, 5pm – 7pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Inaugural reading: Linton Kwesi Johnson (and panel of world renowned poets)
Friday 13 November, 2015, 8pm – 10pm [£5 waged or £3 unwaged]
Details and tickets >>

Poetry and technology (14 October)

Poetry and Technology: A workshop for young people
Saturday 14 November, 11am – 1pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Workshop: Poetry, Artificial Intelligence and Computational Creativity
Saturday 14 November, 12pm – 6 pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Poetry across languages (15 November)

A walking tour investigating poetry in the backstreets of Mile End
Sunday 15 November, 11am – 12.30 pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

An afternoon of Bangla poetry and performance from Shanghati Literary Society
Sunday 15 November, 1pm – 3pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

Poetry across borders: a debate on the value of poetry in a globalised world
Sunday 15 November, 4pm – 6pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>

The closing performance: readings from internationally renowned poets
Sunday 15 November, 7pm – 8.30 pm [Free]
Details and tickets >>