Local political leaders take to the stage to perform poems that have influenced their lives and political careers.
It’s generally accepted that the arts and poetry can play important roles in stimulating discussion and debate on political issues, so the festival is delighted that representatives from the main political parties have agreed to recite their three favourite poems that have influenced their political journeys and impacted their lives.
It’s a unique opportunity to discuss political themes in a fun and imaginative way. Doug Beattie (UUP), Claire Hanna (SDLP), Deirdre Hargey (Sinn Féin), Emma Little-Pengelly (DUP), and Kate Nicholl (Alliance) will be stepping up to the mic to showcase the artistic side to their political personas.
After their readings, the party representatives will take part in a panel discussion to discuss the role played by the arts and poetry in contemporary Northern Irish society and their relevance to the current political agenda.
Political poetry has often been used as a platform to provoke safe discussion of difficult or contentious issues. Seamus Heaney’s work is frequently cited by representatives from right across the political spectrum when they’re talking about conflict and peacebuilding.
As WB Yeats said: “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry”. And John F Kennedy famously stated, “if more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live”.
Monday 20th March