[so i’ll talk about it] for World Poetry Day to celebrate Ukrainian poetry

In celebration of World Poetry Day, and standing in solidarity with our sister Cities of Literature in Lviv and Odessa in Ukraine, several UNESCO Cities of Literature joined together to present the poem, “[So I’ll talk about it]” by Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin. Poets from 11 Cities of Literature read lines from the poem. The poets, their cities and their bios are listed below.

Read the poem, “[So i’ll talk about it],” and others, here.

CITY Poet name Poet bio
Edinburgh 1 Kathleen Jamie Kathleen Jamie is a poet, essayist and editor.

In August 2021, Jamie was appointed the Makar or National Poet for Scotland for a three-year term.

Raised in Currie, near Edinburgh, she studied philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, publishing her first poems as an undergraduate. Her writing is rooted in Scottish landscape and culture, and ranges through travel, women’s issues, archaeology and visual art. She writes in English and occasionally in Scots.

Jamie’s collections include Black Spiders (1982) and The Queen of Sheba (1995). Her 2004 collection The Tree House revealed an increasing interest in the natural world, and won the Forward Poetry Prize and the Scottish Book of the Year Award. The Overhaul, won the 2012 Costa poetry award.  In 2014, Jamie set herself the task of writing one poem per week. The resulting poems were collected in The Bonniest Companie, winning 2016 Saltire Society Book of the Year award.  Her Selected Poems were published in 2018.


Heidelberg 2 Ralph Dutli Ralph Dutli, born 1954 in Switzerland, lives in the UNESCO City of Literature Heidelberg/Germany since the past 25 years. He is a poet, novelist, essayist, translator of Russian poetry (works by Ossip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, Joseph Brodsky). His novel “Soutine’s Last Journey” has been translated into several European languages receiving various literary awards. Four of his books have been translated into Russian: a biography of Ossip Mandelstam under the title “My Time, My Beast” (“Век мой, зверь мой”); “Soutine’s Last Journey” upon the last days in the life of the Belarus-Jewish painter Chaim Soutine (“Последнее странствие Сутина”); two essay books presenting the cultural history of the olive tree (“Дивная олива”) and the honey bee (“Песнь о меде”) – published by Ivan Limbakh Publishing House, Saint Petersburg.

Wikipedia in German https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Dutli

Exeter 3 Liv Torc, Jim Causley Liv Torc is a spoken word artist and producer who plunders the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human and planetary condition. A Radio 4 Slam Winner, a former Bard of Exeter, host of the Rainbow Fish Speakeasy, and current co-host of the Hip Yak Poetry Shack. Liv is lead artist in Take Art’s long running social prescribing and poetry project Word/Play and she specialises in facilitating spaces for vulnerable adults. She runs Haiflu, the Hip Yak Poetry School, Hot Poets and the spoken word stage at WOMAD.

More than simply a folk-singer, multi award winning singer-songwriter, musician and proud Devonian Jim Causley is an all-round entertainer and during the past decade Causley has been nominated no less than six times for a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. Last year he was nominated as “Singer of the Year” at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, he won the Spiral Earth Singer of the Year award in 2014, presented his own folk music show on BBC Radio Devon and in 2015 he worked with BBC TV historian Dr Sam Willis to create the music for his show ‘Highwaymen, Outlaws and Villains’ and was asked to perform his song about Dartmoor tin mining ‘Pride of the Moor’ on BBC TV’s Countryfile – Dartmoor Special.

Iowa City 4 Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey is an author, performer, and producer. He hails from Columbia, Missouri, and holds a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Iowa. His debut book, Look, Black Boy, became Amazon’s #1 new release in African American poetry, and was awarded first prize in the North Street Book Prize. His second book, Heart Notes was published in 2019. In 2020 and 2021 he was named Best Poet/Spoken Word Performer in Cedar Rapids & Iowa City. As a performer he is the winner of multiple poetry slams across the country, as well as a finalist in the Iowa City SlamOvision event in 2019. When he is not writing and performing he is actively curating a community of spoken word poets in Iowa City through his creation of a high school program, IC Speaks, and producing local events like the Mic Check Poetry Festival.
Granada 5 Gerardo Rodríguez Salas Gerardo Rodríguez Salas is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Granada (Spain) and MA in Women’s Studies from Oxford University. As a writer, he was shortlisted for the 27th Andalusian Critics Award for his poetry book Anacronía (Valparaíso, 2020). So far he has published the short story collection Hijas de un sueño (Esdrújula, 2017), Anacronía (2020), and the play Vulanicos, which was selected to open the theatre book series ‘Teatro bajo la arena’ for Patronato Federico García Lorca and Diputación Provincial de Granada (2021). His poetry has appeared in journals such as Meanjin (Australia), Círculo de Poesía (México), Altazor (Chile), Extramuros (Uruguay), Esteros (Uruguay) or Estación Poesía (Spain), aside from many different book anthologies. His work has been translated into English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.
Norwich 6 Molly Naylor Molly Naylor is a scriptwriter, poet, performer and graphic novelist. Her stage work includes LIGHTS! PLANETS! PEOPLE! (winner of the Norfolk Arts Award for Theatre), Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of You (adapted for BBC Radio 4) and My Robot Heart. Her new show Stop Trying to be Fantastic has been commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre and Inn Crowd and will tour as soon as that’s allowed. Screen work includes After Hours (Sky One) – available to stream on Now TV. She is currently working on her first feature film, I’ll See Myself Out (Jeva Films). Published works include Stop Trying to be Fantastic (Burning Eye Books, 2020) and Badminton (2016). Her graphic novel adaptation of LIGHTS! PLANETS! PEOPLE! was published by Avery Hill in September 2021, and a forthcoming full collection of poetry – Whatever You’ve Got – will be published by Bad Betty Press in April 2022.
Manchester 7 Jo Flynn After winning the Roy Fisher Prize for poetry endorsed by the Poet Laureate, Jo’s debut pamphlet Swallowing Sand was published and she’s since appeared at the National Poetry Library in London as well as performing internationally. Jo just hopes to make sense of the world with words. And dogs.
Heidelberg 8 Barbara Imgrund
Kuhmo 9 Markku Nieminen Markku Nieminen is a writer, a poet and a White Sea Karelian folklore collector. His life has been dedicated to the literature both in its general meaning and also to the Finnish epic the Kalevala. Having collecting oral folklore in villages of White Sea Karelia in Russia and Finland, he has written various stories, novels, documentary literature and lyrical poems.
Markku Nieminen was born in Finland, in Pori in 1945. His life goal has been the revitalizing of White Sea Karelian villages, collecting folklore, making books, sharing information with people around. In 1985 Markku has founded an organization which has cherished the Kalevala and its culture and heritage in Kuhmo. The writer himself was a chairmen of the foundation for over 35 years.
Tartu 10 Carolina Pihelgas  

Carolina Pihelgas (b. 24. II 1986) is a writer, translator, and editor. She has published several volumes of poetry, among them a collection of prose poems titled Valgus kivi sees (“The Light Within the Stone,” 2019) which received the Cultural Endowment Award for best poetry book of the year. From 2011 to 2020 Pihelgas worked in the office of the youth literary journal Värske Rõhk, becoming editor in chief in 2013. From 2021 she is working as an editor on the journal Looming. Among other things she has conducted a number of interviews with contemporary Estonian poets, and collected them in the book Sõnad on õhk (‘Words are Air’, 2018). She has translated the poetry of Constantine Cavafy, Sappho, Tor Ulven, Pablo Neruda, and many others. Her own poetry has been translated into fifteen languages, and she has been featured in anthologies in Estonia and abroad. In 2020 Carolina Pihelgas was Tartu City Writer Grant Laureate.

Melbourne 11 Panda Wong  

Panda is a poet. She is also an Associate Editor at The Suburban Review, a board member at Performance Review and a 2020 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk fellow. Her first chapbook ‘angel wings dumpster fire’, published by Puncher & Wattmann, is forthcoming in early 2022.

Granada 12 Javier Gilabert  

Javier Gilabert (Grenada, Spain, 1973) is a teacher. As a poet, he has published ‘PoeAmario’, ‘En los Estantes’ and ‘AMaría’, ‘Sonnets for the end of the known world’ with Diego Medina Poveda and ‘Under the sign of the Hunter’ with Fernando Jaén. He is a promoter of the anthology against sexist violence ‘Granada no se calla’ and and co-editor of the anthologies ‘Versos al amor de la Lumbre’ and ‘Para decir amor, sencillamente’, a tribute to Rafael Guillén. Together with Fernando Jaén and Gerardo Rodríguez Salas is creator and promoter of the Poetry Contest ‘Ciudad de Churriana’.

Manchester 13 Reece Williams  

Reece Williams is a graduate with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). His main areas of interest are literature and theatre and he has a broad understanding of law, finance and project administration. He has extensive experience as a writer, performer and project administrator, having joined Manchester-based poetry collective Young Identity in 2007 and becoming the Project Administrator in 2008-a role which he currently occupies. Reece is passionate about youth engagement, cultural policy and race relations in addition to peer mentoring and the advocacy of active citizenship through the arts. He is a Trustee at Contact (The Manchester Young Peoples’ Theatre Trust), an organisation dedicated to the engagement of young people through the arts, serving on the Artistic Evaluation Group.