“Every word is changed when spoken”

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For the 43rd year in a row, the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam sets the stage for poetry from around the world. The sound of poets reading live, their passionate, inspirational perspective on life and current events, the power and beauty of their words, the meeting of many languages and cultures of the world – all these enrich our experience of poetry. Discover the wonder of language, in which “every word is changed when spoken” (Stanley Moss, Poetry International Festival 1995).

“On how this poem will end
nothing can be said just yet”

Matei Vişniec, Poetry International Festival 2005

At what point is poetry really finished, and when is it not quite complete? Like Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, poems are sometimes incomplete, whether as an unintentional result of the poet’s death or as a deliberate literary device. What happens to the unfinished poem? Does incomplete really mean incomplete? Does the poet decide when something is finished, or does the reader? These are all questions addressed in our numerous festival special events, which include discussions of Friederike Mayröcker’s unwritten work, the fragmentary surviving poems of Sappho, the literary space of Maurice Blanchot and Samuel Beckett’s final poem.

Active Poetry

Eager to write poetry yourself? How exactly does one read a poem? What is it like to translate poetry? Poetry International helps you to discover the answers to these questions through translation workshops, renga sessions and poetic games of Chinese Whispers, as well as masterclasses in writing and reading poetry.

Language & Art Gallery Tour 2012

Since 2004, more than 150 artists have amazed audiences of the Poetry International Festival with work that straddles language and visual art, among them Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, John Körmeling and Jenny Holzer. For the entire month of June, Poetry International will lead visitors through dynamic fusions of language and art with the Language & Art Gallery Tour, which spans a number of Rotterdam galleries. The official opening of the Tour is scheduled for 10 June at 11.00 AM with a tasty breakfast at the Visual Arts Centre Rotterdam (CBK).


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