Margaret Atwood, Robert Bringhurst, Anne Carson, August Kleinzahler and Anne Simpson read at exclusive Griffin Poetry Prize event at Poetry International 2004

LONDON, ENGLAND, October 25, 2004 – A breathtaking array of poets brought together by the Griffin Trust and the Canadian High Commission provides a unique line-up for Poetry International, the largest poetry festival in the United Kingdom taking place in London at the Royal Festival Hall from October 15 through to October 30 2004.

Thursday 28 Oct, PURCELL ROOM 7.30pm
Margaret Atwood, Robert Bringhurst, Anne Carson, August Kleinzahler and Anne Simpson
Tickets £8.50 Concs £6 (regular concs and under-20s)

Margaret Atwood, a trustee of the Griffin Trust, will read from her rich and varied work. Robert Bringhurst’s poetry marries sinuous language with formal exactitude in his celebrated translations from Native American texts. Anne Carson, winner of the inaugural Griffin Poetry Prize, has had a huge impact on the UK poetry scene since her first publication, Glass and God in 1998, her ambitious work ranges from quatrains to verse essays, underscored by rigorous classical scholarship. August Kleinzahler is the International Winner of the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize for The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, confirming him as a poet with “the vision and confident skill to make American poetry new” (The Times). Anne Simpson’s (Canadian winner 2004) delicately crafted, lyrical poetry reaches new heights in Loop, her second collection. Drawing on many influences – the natural world, relationships, history – she reads for the first time at the South Bank. This event has been brought to Poetry International in association with the Griffin Poetry Prize and Canada House.

Thursday 28 Oct
‘An American Iliad’
Margaret Atwood, Robert Bringhurst with Erica Wagner
Voice Box 5pm, Tickets £6 Concs £4

Canadian poet Robert Bringhurst spent 12 years translating the poetry of two North American Native mythtellers whose stories were collected in the nineteenth century. The resulting trilogy, Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers has been dubbed by Margaret Atwood “an American Iliad” and has raised controversial questions for Canadians questioning their cultural identity.

Robert Bringhurst and Margaret Atwood discuss the significance of the Haida myths and the work of translating them with Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times.

Four of the poets performing at The Griffin Trust event at the festival were commissioned by the Times Literary Supplement to write a poem specifically for the TLS to coincide with Poetry International 2004.

In addition, poets Anne Simpson and August Kleinzahler are in Scotland on the 26th October to read at Collins Gallery, Glasgow at 1pm and the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh at 7.30pm. Robert Bringhurst is also lecturing at the University of Stirling on 2nd November and at the University of Edinburgh on 3rd November. For more information on the readings in Scotland, please contact Laura Bonney at Colman Getty PR, Edinburgh on 0131 477 7950, laura@colmangettypr.co.uk.

For more information about the Griffin Poetry Prize event at Poetry International, please do not hesitate to contact Sophie Rochester at sophie@colmangettypr.co.uk or tel: 020 7 631 2666 or Prudence Emery, press@griffinpoetryprize.com 416 463-3105.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology: A Selection of the 2004 Shortlist, edited by Phyllis Webb, has been published by House of Anansi Press Inc. and is available on their website, www.anansi.ca. Royalties from the Anthology are donated to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day. Review copies are available from Colman Getty PR.
  2. The Griffin Poetry Prize, now in its fourth year, is the most valuable annual prize for poetry to invite submissions worldwide, with a total prize value of $80,000. The Prize was founded by Scott Griffin, Chairman of the House of Anansi Press Inc., and General Kinetics Engineering Corporation. It is administered by The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, of which Scott Griffin is the Chair.
  3. Biographies of the Griffin Poetry Prize 2004 winners and sample poems are available online at www.griffinpoetryprize.com, or from Colman Getty PR. Review copies of the winning anthologies are available from Colman Getty PR.
  4. The Shortlists for the Griffin Poetry Prize 2004 were as follows:

    Canadian Shortlist

    Now You Care • Di Brandt
    Coach House Books

    go-go dancing for Elvis • Leslie Greentree
    Frontenac House Ltd.

    Loop • Anne Simpson
    McClelland & Stewart Ltd.

    International Shortlist

    Notes from the Divided Country • Suji Kwock Kim
    Louisiana State University Press

    The Ha-Ha • David Kirby
    Louisiana State University Press

    The Strange Hours Travelers Keep • August Kleinzahler
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux

    The Owner of the House • Louis Simpson
    BOA Editions, Ltd.

  5. Previous winners of the Griffin Poetry Prize are:

    2003
    International: Paul Muldoon, Moy Sand and Gravel
    Canadian: Margaret Avison, Concrete and Wild Carrot

    2002
    International: Alice Notley, Disobedience
    Canadian: Christian Bök, Eunoia

    2001
    International: Paul Celan, Glottal Stop, trans Nikolai Popov and Heather McHugh
    Canadian: Anne Carson, Men in the Off Hours

  6. To receive a copy of the Poetry International 2004 Festival brochure and for more information, please contact Truda Spruyt or Kate Wright-Morris at Colman Getty PR on Tel: 020 7631 2666 Fax: 020 7631 2699

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For more information, contact:

Press and Publicity
Prudence Emery, Publicity Director
Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry
Telephone: (905) 565-5993
E-mail: press@griffinpoetryprize.com

General Inquiries
Ruth Smith, Manager
Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry
Telephone: (905) 565-5993
E-mail: info@griffinpoetryprize.com

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