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The 2019 Northern Poetry Symposium ties in with the festival theme of transformations to explore the exciting world of poetry and play, cutting edge innovation and new experiments redefining poetry as we know it.
2nd MAY | 10:00-17:00 | Sage Gateshead | Barbour Room

 Registration from 9.45-10am on the main concourse at the entrance to Sage. Refreshments will be available in the Barbour Room on Level 2.

10 AM

Welcome to the Symposium by Newcastle Poetry Festival Director Sinéad Morrissey. 

Inter/Ventions: Art and Poetry | 10:15 – 11:15

Irene Brown, Head of Fine Art at Newcastle University, leads the discussion on cross-art collaborations between poetry, film and visual arts with artist and poet Sophie Herxheimer, who illustrates Poetry London magazine; internationally renowned artist and poet Alec Finlay and French poet-artist Iris Colomb, whose live art/poetry interventions expand the possibilities of traditional poetry readings.

Inter/Active: The Digital Frontier and Pioneering Poetry | 11:20 – 12:20

Jon Stone, Co-editor of Sidekick Books’ Robot Poetry Anthology, delves into the interactive world of poetry and cutting-edge technology, from Artificial Intelligence to robo-poetics and gaming, to reveal how innovation is re-inventing poetry. The panel will also include poet JR Carpenter, winner of the Dot Award for Digital Literature, Stephen Sexton, whose Super Mario-inspired poetry is forthcoming from Penguin this year, and Naho Matsuda, creator of an immersive installation which transformed live smart data into an ever-changing poem at the Great Exhibition of the North.


Inter/Ruptions: Playful Forms/Transforming Poetry | 13.30 – 14.30

Leading poetry critic and editor of The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Jeremy Noel-Tod chairs a panel on the playful forms disrupting traditional definitions of poetry. World-class innovators including the distinguished American poet and essayist Mary Ruefle, Ledbury Forte Prize winner Sandeep Parmar, and filmmaker, poet and digital artist, Ahren Warner, examine the transformations at play in poetry today, from micro-poems to lyrical essays, spoken word and prose poems.

Inter/Pretations: Poetry and the Body | 14:40 – 15:40

Linda Anderson, poet and Professor of Modern English and American Literature at Newcastle University, explores the interplay between poetry and the body. This panel includes Forward prize-shortlisted poet Malika Booker, Helen Ivory, author of The Anatomical Venus, and prize-winning author of playtime and physical, Andrew McMillan. The panel will consider a range of ways in which poetry interacts with the body, from LGBTQ and feminist perspectives, to interpretative dance.


Inter/Play Performance: Poetry Reading | 16:00 – 17:00

Join us for the Inter/Play in action with three stars of the symposium: Stephen Sexton’s debut collection If All the World and Love Were Young is forthcoming from Penguin; Poet and PBS Selector, Sandeep Parmar, is the author of The Marble Orchard and Eidolon(Shearsman); and Malika Booker is a multi- disciplinary artist whose work is rooted in storytelling.

 For the first time ever, you can also get a combined daytime and evening ticket so that you can enjoy an evening of music and poetry at the Sage, after the Symposium for only £25.10 (Students £19.60). Alternatively the Symposium Day Only ticket costs £15, Friend of the Festival £13.50, Student Rate £10.

Inspired by Norwegian folklorist Arne Bjørndal’s visit to Shetland in 1949, Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey joins forces with Shetland fiddler and composer, Catriona Macdonald, to explore, through a complex interweaving of voice and music, ideas of tradition, the dynamics of archives, and our connection to the past.

Catriona Macdonald is senior lecturer and Degree Programme Director of the BA in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University. She currently performs with her own band, as well as with international fiddle band String Sisters whose latest album is ‘Between Wind and Water’ (2018).

Sinéad Morrissey is the author of six poetry collections. On Balance (2017) won the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her other awards include the T S Eliot Prize and the E M Forster Award. She is Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts at Newcastle University.

Brecht Then & Now
Poet David Constantine and translator Tom Kuhn present the life and times of the great German writer Berthold Brecht in an electric performance fusing poems, narration, songs, music and photographs. Focusing on the years 1922-1933, they trace the vagaries of the Weimar Republic and the Rise of National Socialism through the lens of Brecht’s poetry, translated into English for the first time as a complete edition (Norton, 2018).

David Constantine taught German at Oxford for over 30 years. He has published a dozen volumes of poetry, including Madder, Watching for Dolphins, Caspar Hauser, The Pelt of Wasps, Something for the Ghosts, Collected Poems, Nine Fathom Deep and Elder (2014), as well as two novels, Davies (1985) and The Life-Writer (2015), and five collections of short stories.

Tom Kuhn teaches German language and literature at Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Hugh’s College. As well as co-translating The Collected Poems of Berthold Brecht with David Constantine, he is also the series editor of the principal English-language edition of Brecht’s plays and other writings with Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.



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