The festival was founded by Ted Hughes, former Poet Laureate, in 1967, as a response to the global polarisation of east and west during the Cold War.

Writing in his introduction to the brochure that year, Hughes said: ‘The idea of global unity is not new, but the absolute necessity of it has only just arrived, like a sudden radical alteration of the sun.’

Returning for the first time since 2019, this year’s festival also celebrates the 70th birthday of the National Poetry Library. Poetry International 2023 forms part of Planet Summer, our summer season of events focused on the climate.

The Southbank Centre is hosting the ceremony for the Ginkgo Prize, the world’s largest ecopoetry award, as well as a multitude of events across our site, including presentations, panel discussions, workshops and participatory programming.

Poets and artists involved in this year’s Poetry International include: Patience Agbabi, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Khairani Barokka, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Kayo Chingonyi, CAConrad, Lidija Dimkovska, Sé Merry Doyle, Jorie Graham, Linda Gregerson, Gwenno, Seán Hewitt, Craig Jordan-Baker, Aaron Kent, Amy Key, John Kinsella, Zaffar Kunial, Sam Lee, Cedar Lewisohn, Yang Lian, Eimear McGeown, Cerys Matthews, montenegrofisher, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Nina Mingya Powles, Pratyusha, Chris Redmond, Tim Saunders, Olive Senior, Cherry Smyth, Liv Torc, Stephen Watts, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Jane Yeh and Belinda Zhawi.


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