CELEBRATING its 10th anniversary this year, the Annikki Poetry Festival is being held once again in Tampere, on 8 June. One of the most significant poetry events across the country, the festival has branched out in recent years to incorporate also music and arts.

A non-profit event organised by volunteers, the festival venue is once again to be found at a 100-year-old wooden quarter in the centre of Tampere, which continues to create a warm and special atmosphere where poets and their audience come together.

The theme of this year’s festival is “The Earth”, which aims to explore and celebrate the diversity of the world and poetry. 2013’s edition brings with it the promise of more international performers on the bill than ever before. Furthermore, not to be outdone, Jenni Haukio, the First Lady of Finland, is the patron of this year’s gathering.

The programme this year includes American poet Anne Waldman. Often referred to as being the youngest of the Beat poets, Waldman has been one of the most prominent figures in American poetry for decades. A pioneer of modern performance poetry, she has published almost 50 works of poetry and several audio records during her time. Performing in Finland for the first time, over the years Waldman has worked with the likes of Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan.

Furthermore, Japanese poet Kido Shuri is also attending the festival for the first time. Having published nine poetry collections since 1986, the Finnish translation of his work will be published at the Annikki Poetry Festival. Meanwhile, Dutch singer-songwriter and a harpist Habiba will be appearing. Singing in English and accompanying himself on the harp, Habiba’s songs are unashamedly feminine, and are influenced by both folk and jazz music.

Annikki Poetry Festival
8 June
Annikinkuja 2

On the local scene, musician and composer Kaj Chydenius will be performing with singer Taru Nyman, as he performs his much-appreciated blend of poetry, politics and popular music. Known for his translations of Japanese literature into Finnish, Kai Nieminen has become one the most loved lyric poets in Finland with his lucid poetic expression that aims to reach the core of existence. He will perform with the aptly named guitarist Kai Nieminen. Poet, author and translator Eira Stenberg will also be appearing, as well as northern Sami poet and singer-songwriter Niillas Holmberg and Helsinki poet Veera Antsalo.

Finally, if one day is not enough poetry celebration for you, then the tradition of Annikki OFF that commenced last year will see numerous cultural events on offer outside of the official programme. More information and the full programme can be found at the festival website.

James O’Sullivan