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UK plans largest ever poetry festival for Olympics

2nd June 2011

The largest poetry festival in UK history will take place next year as part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrating the London Games, it has been confirmed.

Poets from all 205 countries participating in the Games will travel to London to be part of Poetry Parnassus, which will feature readings and workshops, as well as a touring gala.

Each poet will be asked to contribute one poem to a collection titled The World Record, which will be used to help champion poetry in translation, said the Southbank Centre's artist in residence, Simon Armitage, who has organised the event.

He explained: 'My hunch is that this will be the biggest poetry event ever - a truly global coming together of poets, and a monumental poetic happening worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympics themselves.'

The event will take place between June 26th and July 2nd 2012, as part of the final stages of the Cultural Olympiad, Armitage confirmed.

Meanwhile, the public can help to decide which representatives will be invited to attend the event by voting for their top three poets from any Olympic country before July 22nd this year.

The highest-ranked poets will then be shortlisted by a judging panel before the final one from each country is selected in spring next year.

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