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Poetry Translation Centre presents World Poets’ Tour 2008

10 October 2008

Following the extraordinary success of the first World Poets’ Tour in 2005, the Poetry Translation Centre launches its second World Poets’ Tour this October, featuring six international poets.

The poets, from Cape Verde, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Somaliland, Sudan and Tajikistan, will visit the UK to take part in a series of readings and community events. In a unique collaboration, their poems have been translated by distinguished UK poets working closely with translators. The UK poets will also participate in these events, reading their translations alongside the original poems.

As well as revealing the poets’ cultures and rich literary traditions in which poetry plays a prominent role, the tour will also strengthen links with local communities from the poets’ countries who are now living in the UK.

Supported by the Arts Council, the Poetry Translation Centre translates poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America to a high literary standard. The 2008 World Poets’ Tour is the culmination of months of preparation during which poets and translators have worked together across cultural, linguistic and physical boundaries to create new poems in English.

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, London:

‘International collaborations are real melting pots of cultural ideas and are bubbling with creative potential. Not only can the work be new and innovative, it can give audiences fresh perspectives and experiences of other ways of life. This work from three continents will be seen, heard and read by many people across the UK and we are delighted to be supporting it.’

The six international poets taking part in the tour are:

  • Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac ‘Gaarriye’ (from Somaliland) translated by W.N. Herbert
  • Farzaneh Khojandi (from Tajikistan) translated by Jo Shapcott
  • Noshi Gillani (from Pakistan) translated by Lavinia Greenlaw
  • Kajal Ahmad (from Kurdistan) translated by Mimi Khalvati
  • Corsino Fortes (from Cape Verde) translated by Sean O’Brien
  • Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (from Sudan) translated by Sarah Maguire

The tour will visit Bristol, Manchester, Lancaster, Liverpool, Ilkley, Cardiff, Birmingham, Canterbury, Grasmere, Edinburgh and the British Library, London. Dual-language chapbooks of the poets’ work and new translations, published by Enitharmon Press, will be on sale during the tour.

For further information about the poets and their poems, see

For more information, to arrange an interview with one of the poets or to discuss publication of the new translations, please contact: Travis Elborough, Tel: 07905 951155, email:

The Poetry Translation Centre is one of Arts Council England’s regularly funded organisations receiving £107,835 funding during 2008/09.