Culture is future » Innovation and digital

03.30.2012

Note of the Forum - The path to the London Olympics is paved with good poems

If all roads lead to Rome, it is that of poetry which leads ... to the London Olympics. A poem by each of the 204 Olympic nations is read every day on the BBC until the close of the Paralympics games.

A daily poem for diving into the heart of every Olympic nation is read by the BBC and broadcast in its radio network. This is the initiative of the Scottish Poetry Library with its project, 'The Written World'. Investing in poetry, the prestigious institution wanted to focus on a slice of life and culture of each country '. Since March 14th, 2012, is the presenting of Guyana,  Grace Nichols's "Like a Beacon", which opened this count of a new kind, covering 204 nations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Obviously, the selection was long and delicate. The rules for selection were large. The poets could be living or dead but "their words had to be reflective, funny, lyrical or passionate, and the poem needed to depict some aspect of the national life". The project needed poems that were instantly accessible and relatively upbeat; if sad or about loss. The chosen works had to be balanced the darkness with a little hope too, in the spirit of the 2012 Games. ‘Together these poems depict a world united not only by sport, but by emotions that are universal and need no translator other than the heart.' The initiators assume the subjective nature of the project and any controversy that may come out! Even if all precautions have been taken with months of readings and selection with the help of the Poetry Library and British Library in London.

Pleasant surprise, revealed at the last Forum d'Avignon 2011, it is a poem of Tishani Doshi's "Homecoming" was chosen for India, an evocative tribute to her hometown: "I forgot how Madras loves noise ... How funeral processions clatter / down streets with drums and rose-petals, / dancing deafness Into Death ".
Among the selection, from the Netherlands, Hendrik Marsman's "Memories of Holland", from Denmark, Morten Søndergaard's "more and more Danes", Russia, Andrei Voznesensky's "Selling Watermelons," Niger "Raindrum" by Niyi Osundare, Mauritius's "As the Child Looks On "by Saradha Soobrayen ... Each poem is read by an auditor who has family ties with the country.

To learn more, each poem is can be podcast after its broadcast on BBC and a twit used to find the poem chosen by countries. @splwrittenworld.

Caution! The Scottish Poetry Library has not yet revealed the poem for England or France. Which would you choose? Your turn to read them!