nominated by: Chelley McLear
International Weekend of the celebration of diversity through poetry
April 19 -22 - 2007
Initiated from Belfast, Northern Ireland
A few weeks ago we, the Belfast Poets Touring Group, initiated a call for an international day of the celebration of diversity through poetry. We asked people to put on a poetry event on that day and in tandem with cities all around the world and be part of an event which would play a part in combating racism.
There are now nearly 30 cities on board and that has meant that we have had to extend the event to an entire weekend.
Gordon Hewitt from the Belfast Poets said
“A few months ago we decided that we wanted to play a part in combating racism, something that Belfast had seen a fair bit of in recent years. We put a call to make the event international and the response has been fantastic. Now from our initial call over 30 cities are involved and we look like getting many more.”
“The reasoning behind the calling of was that Belfast in particular and Northern Ireland in general has been described as “the race hate capital of Europe,” and it was true that many racist attacks and racist acts have taken place here. But what was also true is that there has been a widespread campaign against racism and that has taken root in many communities.”
”Our view is that as poets we should be part of the offensive against the racists given that poetry is practised world-wide and that at its heart is the self expression of people wherever they come from. We also recognise that poetry crosses all manner of boundaries, from language to cultural differences to find common cause.”
“When we were touring Australia we performed alongside poets from many different countries and cultural backgrounds and learnt from all of them. We have been affected in the way we approach our writing through that experience.”
“Belfast has been known for many things but now we can say that we are putting the fight against racism on the map and encouraging this to be an international struggle.”
Chelley Mclear from the Belfast Poets said, “The Love Poetry Hate Racism weekend offers the opportunity to poets across the world to join together in an international celebration of the diversity of society and poetic traditions, new and old.
Just as language is constantly evolving in reponse to an ever changing environment, we are fortunate that poetry is also fed by a rich and varied diet of a multiplicity of cultural traditions and that societal changes enable us to share and enjoy many and varied contributions to this art form. It is not only the words used or the language or manner in which they are delivered that is important but the public proclamation around the world that culturally diverse societies can enrich our lives and our arts.
Love Poetry Hate Racism brings together poets of many traditions, genre and styles to share in this celebration of diversity and rejection of racism.”
name: Chelley McLear/Gordon Hewitt
International organisation based in Belfast