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In 2017 the Poetry Book Society co-founded and curated the Northern Poetry Symposium at Sage Gateshead with Newcastle University's Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts to launch the NCLA Newcastle Poetry Festival with a day of lively debates, inspirational talks and panel discussions. This state of the nation summit gathered leading figures from the poetry sector, including National Poetry Day Director, Susannah Herbert; Bloodaxe’s Founder and Editor, Neil Astley; Stanza Poetry Festival Director, Eleanor Livingstone; Carcanet’s Managing and Editorial Director, Michael Schmidt and Chief Executive of Poet in the City, Isobel Colchester. The Northern Poetry Symposium explored key topics affecting the poetry world today, from digital apps to diversity, and inspired exciting new ways of working together to widen audiences for poetry. 

10:30-18:30 | Sage Gateshead Northern Rock Foundation Hall | £25/£20 (students)

On the 3rd May 2018 we'll be co-hosting The Northern Poetry Symposium II: Crossings on the subject of Poetry in Translation at the Sage Gateshead as part of the Newcastle Poetry Festival with The Poettrios Experiment and NCLA, Newcastle University. Join us for an exhilarating day of poets, translators and speakers exploring everything from world poetry to translation processes and exiled voices. In the current age of political turbulence – the vote for Brexit, the presidency of Donald Trump, the refugee crisis and the rise of censorship – poetry in translation is more relevant than ever. We’ll be crossing the globe with exiled voices, exploring innovative new translation processes and putting poetry in translation firmly back on the map. Co-hosted by NCLA, PoetTrio and the Poetry Book Society.

We'd love to see as many of PBS members as possible at the event. 

 Click here for more details and to book tickets.


11.00 - Panel: Poetry Translation as Collaboration
A unique insight into the collaborative process of translating poetry from leading translators and researchers of Dutch, Austrian, Swedish and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian poetry. Led by the PoetTrio Experiment Co-Investigator W.N. Herbert, joined by poets and translators Karen Leeder, Carolyn Forché, Lars Gustaf Andersson and Francis Jones.

12.15 - PoetTrio Showcase 
A reading by the PoetTrio Poets Elma van Haren and Hélène Gelèns, alongside W.N. Herbert, Fiona Sampson and Sean O’Brien, with a tribute to Menno Wigman.

14.00 - Crossing the Divide: Poetry and Voices of Exile 
Karen McCarthy Woolf chairs a dynamic discussion on the role of poetry in the age of migration featuring the exiled Ugandan poet Nick Makoha, the Ukrainian-born poet Ilya Kaminsky, and Carolyn Forché, editor of Against Forgetting: Twentieth-century Poetry of Witness (1993). How important is poetry in translation in voicing migrant experience and highlighting the recent refugee crises? How can we combat threats to freedom of speech today and what more can be done to make migrant voices heard?

15.15- International Dialogues: Putting Poetry in Translation on the Map 
Former Modern Poetry in Translation editor Sasha Dugdale explores innovative ways to raise the profile of poetry in translation with the founder and editor of Bloodaxe Books, Neil Astley, poet and translator, Fiona Sampson, PBS Director, Sophie O’Neill, and the first-ever British Library Translator in Residence, Jen Calleja. How can we publish more poetry in translation and give it a more prominent place at book festivals, in the media and on the national curriculum?

16.30 – PoetTrio Commission Presentation with Martin Heslop
Composer Martin Heslop presents a new immersive sound work in response to collaborative poetry translation from the PoetTrio Experiment workshops. Imagined as an intercepted cross-border broadcast, Alternating Currents explores the intersection of language, code and music.

17:15 – Symposium Showcase and Drinks Reception 
Chaired by the PBS Choice and T S Eliot Prize-winning poet Sinéad Morrissey, the symposium concludes with a drinks reception and readings from Nick Makoha, Carolyn Forché and Lars Gustaf Andersson, and launches the PBS Summer Translation Choice Evelyn Schlag and Karen Leeder.