The World Record is an international anthology of work by all poets appearing at Poetry Parnassus, published by Bloodaxe Books with Southbank Centre. The World Record” is an international anthology of work by poets from all the countries taking part in the 2012 London Olympics, featuring a poem from each of the 204 Olympic nations. Poets come together in London for Poetry Parnassus, a week-lon celebratory gathering as part of the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the Festival of the World and the London 2012 Festival. This visionary festival at London’s Southbank Centre features poets from all participating Olympic nations giving readings, talks and performances. Poetry Parnassus is a monumental poetic happening worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympics.
“The World Record” is a unique publication, a snapshot or cross-section of global poetry from over two hundred countries. Poetry is surely one of the planet’s oldest art forms, an Olympic event no less in ancient time, and during London’s Olympic year of 2012 the Southbank has sought to recreate a small piece of Greece along its riverside complex, namely Mount Parnassus, home to the muses and home to Orpheus, often described as “the first poet”. This ambitious anthology is not only a record of that extraordinary happening but an enduring and echoing experience, one that celebrates and honours a multitude of voices, languages and attitudes, all joined under the flag of poetry. —Simon Armitage.