Poetry 2012: The Written World
If you’ve been listening to BBC Radio Scotland recently you might have been lucky enough to catch a reading from Poetry 2012: The Written World, a programme of poems selected by the Scottish Poetry Library that honour the spirit of London 2012.
Every day until the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony on Sunday 9 September, poems from each of the London 2012 competing nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, are being broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland.
Read by someone based in the UK with family ties to the competing nation, the poems are a glimpse into the life and culture of that particular country. Since it launched in mid-March, listeners have heard poems from Guyana, India, The Netherlands, Russia, Denmark, Mauritius, Nigeria, Mexico, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Finland, Iraq, Argentina, New Zealand, Ireland and Albania with many more to come.
The poem for Iraq was read by Baghdad-born Zuhal Sultan who came to Scotland in 2009 to pursue her studies. Zuhal read My Apologies by Buland Al-Haidar which explores the treasures that Baghdad once had but which now seem to be nothing more than myth.
At the age of 17, Zuhal established the first National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, serving as Founder and Artistic Director. She was chosen by Channel 4 and Raw T.V. for their web-based programme Battlefront to campaign for establishing the Orchestra. As a result, and with the help of a handful of Scottish music tutors and Scottish conductor, Paul MacAlind, the first National Youth Orchestra of Iraq was established in 2009.
Since musically directing their first summer course in 2009, Paul and the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq have performed Iraqi and Western music live and across Arab TV. The orchestra unites Iraq through the language of music, bringing together diverse, talented young musicians from various ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Closer to home, Stirling-based poet and roofer William Letford has been commissioned to create a poem drawing on the themes of the games and breaking boundaries. The poem will be broadcast on the 9 September as part of the Closing Ceremony and the hand over to 2014 the Commonwealth Games. William was one of the very first winners of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and recently secured a publishing deal with Carcanet Press for his first volume of poetry, entitled Bevel, which will be published in November 2012.
There will be a UK poem, but the Scottish Poetry Library is still to announce which poem has been chosen to represent British life and culture and who will read it. The Guardian asks: what would you choose?
When You Can Hear the Poems?
The first broadcast goes out at 5:28am and again on weekdays during MacAulay and Co in the mornings and during the Iain Anderson Show in the evenings. On Saturdays the poem will be broadcast following Sport Nation at 9:58am and on Sundays at 8:58am following Sunday Morning With. For further information about Poetry 2012: The Written World take a look at the Scottish Poetry Librarie's website or listen again on the BBC.
BBC: Poetry 2012: The Written World (Listen Again)
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