For the first of three evening events, the poets appearing live and virtually include Raymond Antrobus, Mona Arshi, Malika Booker, Demani, Imtiaz Dharker (who also featured in Lemn Sissay’s Poet Slash Artist exhibition), Tishani Doshi, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Glyn Maxwell, Shivanee Ramlochan and Icelandic poet Sjon. The second event hears from Caroline Bird, PA Bitez, Kwame Dawes, Vona Groake, Isaiah Hull, Togara Muzanenhamo, Victoria Redel, Jennifer Wong, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Luke Wright. For the final evening, the poets lined up are Jay Bernard, Sean Borodale, Kimberly Campanello, Maura Dooley, Mike Garry, Zaffar Kunial, Joelle Taylor and Keisha Thompson.
Ripples Of Hope Festival: A Poetic Declaration at HOMESarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has brought together 30 poets from around the world to create a powerful new body of work, A Poetic Declaration, which will be unveiled at three events as part of the Ripples Of Hope Festival.
A Poetic Declaration is a unique response to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and will be showcased in three parts, each featuring different readers, on 17, 18 and 19 September. Joining will be Carol Ann Duffy, one of Britain’s most popular and critically acclaimed poets, as well as outgoing Scots Makar Jackie Kay, who’s equally in demand for readings in the UK and internationally.
Poets featuring in the Declaration include Vona Groake of the Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester and Malika Booker of MMU’s Manchester Writing School and The University of Leeds, Forward Prize-winning Carcanet poet Caroline Bird and Manchester scribe Mike Garry. We’ll also hear from three poets from Young Identity, HOME’s Resident Artists: Demani, PA Bitez and Isaiah Hull, and the events will feature music from Jaydev Mistry.
Jude Kelly CBE, artistic director of the festival (and, fact fans, Caroline Bird’s mum), said: “In The Defence of Poetry (1821), [Percy Bysshe] Shelley claimed that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’, suggesting that, through their writing, they offer a deep moral instinct. Simon Armitage has gathered 30 poets to speak to the articles of Human Rights at a time when the turmoil and sadness of the world needs tender intelligent guidance. The writers create a magnificent response to the Universal Declaration of 1948 full of contemporary relevance and immediacy.”
Poets who are taking part include Vona Groake of the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester and Malika Booker of MMU’s Manchester Writing School and University of Leeds, Forward Prize-winning Carcanet poet Caroline Bird and Manchester scribe Mike Garry.
Simon said of the commission: “Can there be a more important time for focusing on human rights? Through poetry – that most democratic of art forms – and through other creative expressions, Ripples Of Hope will be a meeting of thoughts and feelings on what it means to be a citizen of this world. A chance to talk and to listen and to share.”
Simon Armitage is Professor of Poetry at The University of Leeds and this commission includes another of his colleagues at The University of Leeds Poetry Centre, Kimberly Campanello. Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Kimberly is a dual Irish and American citizen living in York, and she lectures in poetry and creative writing and supervises PhDs in innovative poetry. Her own poems have appeared most recently in 3:AM’s Poem Brut series, Poem Atlas’s Escapisms, Junction Box, The Abandoned Playground, Fortnightly Review, The London Magazine, Poetry Ireland Review, The White Review and The Cambridge Literary Review. Her poetry publications include MOTHERBABYHOME, a collection of 796 conceptual and visual poems on the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway, which was published in April 2019 by local indie press zimZalla Avant Objects.
Organised by Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK, the inaugural Ripples Of Hope Festival in Manchester spans five days from Wednesday 15 September to Sunday 19 September, and aims to celebrate the power of people to make human rights a reality for all.