NEWS: Crossings – Newcastle Poetry Festival @ Various Venues | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Tyehimba Jess, who performs at Newcastle Poetry Festival. Image by John Midgley

Lovers of verse rejoice! Crossings, Newcastle’s Poetry Festival, will returns to a variety of venues from Wednesday 2nd until Saturday 5th May. In opposition to current political upheaval, it’s taking a look at what connects us, and kicks off with a special event featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham and more at Newcastle University. Following on the Thursday at Sage Gateshead, and in keeping with the theme of the festival, this year’s Northern Poetry Symposium focuses on poetry in translation.

A major highlight is set to be the work of eight poets who have responded to the major retrospective of painter Sean Scully’s work currently at the Hatton and Laing art galleries. Their poems can be heard when visiting the exhibition itself through readings on the Crossings app, creating an even more immersive, multi-disciplinary experience. Waves And Bones, a project sponsored by the Area of Outstanding National Beauty Partnership, gets its official launch on Friday 4th at Northern Stage, and presents a collection of video and photography collage that includes readings from poets who visited sites on the Northumbrian Coast, inspired by relics and stories of pilgrimage.

Jazz duo Binker & Moses will also be joining Tyehimba Jess as he reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Olio on Thursday night at Sage Gateshead; while Shami Chakrabarti, Carolyn Forché and Patricia Smith will be discussing human rights and verse on Friday afternoon at Northern Stage. With chances to also catch some fast-rising voices in contemporary poetry too, this year’s festival is set to be a border and boundary-breaking epic.

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