This year, for the first time, the Belfast Poetry Festival is expanding its offerings and holding an April symposium in addition to its beloved October showcase. For National Poetry Month, the Festival presents a timely symposium on writing from a sense of place — and all the complexity therein. How do writers navigate their relationship to region and belonging in their work, especially when border-crossing has become increasingly politicized? Poet and scholar Juliana Spahr has said that eco-poets must pay attention not only to the beautiful bird, but also to the bulldozer nearby. How do writers pay homage to ecology and other species while also recognizing the threat these are under?
Featured will be Belfast’s new Poet Laureate Tom Moore, poet and visual artist Mihku Paul, Camden poet and haiku blogger Kristen Lindquist, and Belfast native Gary Lawless: each will read a couple poems that relate to this topic and say a few words. A small panel of writers will then each give a five-minute response to the theme before the floor is opened to conversation between the panelists and audience.
This program will take place in the Gammans Room of the Belfast Free Library and is free and open to all.