Poetry Periscope

The team from the Czech Language Centre and Piána na ulici install the Periscope.

As part of the 2016 European Literature Night in May,  the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), in partnership with The Poetry Society, is launching an ambitious new project to celebrate European literature within the UK.

The Poetry Periscope is a public sound installation – a 1.8 m tall object containing a recorded poem from each EUNIC member. The installation is based on the Poetry Jukebox, which was installed in several European cities over the past year. The Poetry Society has helped collect together and curate the poetry content.

A joint project by Piána na ulici (Pianos on the Street), The Poetry Society, and the European Literature Festival, the Poetry Periscope includes recordings of poems from 30 European cultures, placing poetry grandees such as Titos Patrikios (Greece) and Friederike Mayröcker (Austria) alongside upcoming names such as Irish-language poet Doireann Ni Ghriofa. Poems will each be available in their original language and a recorded English translation.

The Poetry Periscope (known also as Poesiomat or Poetry Jukebox) originated in the Czech Republic and is now being introduced across the world. In 2016 it will be in UK, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, USA and Poland.

The ELN Showcase evening was held on 11 May 2016 at the British Library, London.

The Poetry Periscope also toured to the following locations:

  • 20 May – 29 June 2016 Brighton train Station
  • 30 June – 10 July 2016 Burgage Hall courtyard, part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival
  • 12 July – 14 Sept 2016 New Street Station, Birmingham
  • 16 Sept – 16 Oct 2016 Palace Green Library, Durham (part of the Durham Book Festival)
  • February – May 2017 St. Pancras International Train Station, London

Featured poets:

AUSTRIA, Friederike Mayröcker
BULGARIA, Ivan Hristov
CROATIA, Tatjana Gromaca
CYPRUS, Kyriakos Charalambides
CZECH REPUBLIC, Ondrej Buddeus
DENMARK, Pia Tafdrup
ESTONIA, Jürgen Rooste
FINLAND, Veera Antsalo
FRANCE, Valérie Rouzeau
GERMANY, Jan Wagner
GREECE, Títos Patríkios
HUNGARY, Krisztina Tóth
IRELAND, Doireann Ní Ghríofa
ITALY, Antonella Anedda
LATVIA, Arvis Viguls
LITHUANIA, Ildze Butkute
NETHERLANDS, Toon Tellegen
NORWAY, Hanne Bramness
POLAND, Jaroslaw Mikolajewski
PORTUGAL, Filipa Leal
ROMANIA, Ioan Es. Pop
SLOVENIA, Brane Mozetic
SPAIN, Mariano Peyrou
SPAIN (CATALONIA), Josep Lluís Aguiló
SWEDEN, Tomas Tranströmer

The Poetry Jukebox © Piana na ulici 
The Poetry Periscope UK © European Literature Festival
Concept: Ondrej Kobza
Concept, Coordination: Renata Clark, Czech Centre London
Architect: Jitka Tomsová
Selectors: Judith Palmer & Edward Doegar, The Poetry Society
Coordinator: Michaela Hecková
Producer: Jon Slack, European Literature Festival    

Thank you to the poets who read the English translations of the European poems for Poetry Periscope. The voices you’ll hear include: Gabriel Akamo, Steve Ely, Kathryn Gray, Charlotte Higgins, Jenny Lindsay, Jamie McKendrick, Maurice Riordan, Richard Scott, Susan Wicks.

Thank you to all the participating European poets, and the many publishers, festivals, organisations, translators, poets, and friends and families of poets who helped us find and make recordings for Poetry Periscope. They include: 

Neil Astley and Bloodaxe Books (for Antonella Anedda and Tomas Tranströmer); Mia You and Poetry International Rotterdam (for Toon Tellegen and William Cliff); Mairi and Iain Galbraith (Jan Wagner) recording © Hanser Berlin im Carl Hanser Verlag München 2014, produktion: Der Hörverlag 2015; Arc Publications and The Griffin Poetry Prize (Valérie Rouzeau); Tony Frazer and Shearsman Books (Hanne Bramness and Ilma Rakusa); SJ Fowler (Ivan Hristov); Cyprus High Commission, British Council Nicosia, Greg Delanty and Southword Editions (Kyriakos Charalambides); AE Stallings, Christopher Bakken, Roula Konsolaki and Alexandra Patrikiou (Títos Patríkios); Gyldendal (Pia Tafdrup).


Poetry Periscope Logo


For more on the exhibition, including the launch of the Periscope and the ELN Showcase evening, visit our events page.