The World Record
Mar 11th, 2014 – May 23rd, 2014
This exhibit showcases the autograph edition of The World Record, featuring poems handwritten by Seamus Heaney, Kay Ryan, and over a hundred others, created for the Saison Poetry Library during Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus. One-hundred and twenty-one poems have been recorded in the hand of the poet on sheets of paper containing fibers from the five Olympic continents. Also on view is the desk at which each poem was transcribed, made by British designer Sean Dare and signed by the poets.
Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus was a global gathering of poets coinciding with the London 2012 Olympics. In May 2011, Simon Armitage appeared on the BBC to ask for nominations from around the world for poets to take part in the festival. From thousands of submissions, curators Simon Armitage and Anna Selby selected one poet from each of the 204 Olympic countries to invite to Poetry Parnassus and contribute a poem to The World Record, which was published as an English language anthology by Bloodaxe Books.
In the spirit of Poetry Parnassus, a new handmade paper work inspired by the 77 community areas of Chicago will be created by the Poetry Foundation in collaboration with local artists later this year.
All items in this exhibition have been loaned to the Poetry Foundation by the Saison Poetry Library at Southbank Centre, London. The Saison Poetry Library is a major library for modern and contemporary poetry with a collection of over 200,000 items.
Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts center on the South Bank of the Thames. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre draws on its heritage as a festival site, with art and activities across its 21 acres. Southbank offers music, dance, art, performance and spoken word events throughout the year.
The paper for the autograph edition of The World Record was handmade on the streets of Prishtina during Polip International Literature Festival, a Serb-Kosovan collaboration that brings together writers from across the Balkans and beyond.