The hunt is on for 23 more poets to appear at the Poetry Parnassus, an event taking place in London in June that hopes to host a writer from every country that is competing in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, the UK Press Association reported.
There are over 153 poets signed up for the event so far and another 28 waiting to be confirmed, but there are still 23 countries missing from the line-up, including Liberia, Liechtenstein, Mali, and Monaco, BBC News reported.
The Parnassus, inspired by poetry commissioned as part of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, is being called the biggest gathering of poets in world history, according to the Guardian. The week-long series of poetic events will run from June 26 to July 1, and will be led by the Southbank Center's artist-in-residence Armitage and artistic director Jude Kelly.
"I'm delighted and amazed that it's happening," Armitage told the Guardian. "This is an idea on the back of an envelope which I brought to the Southbank Center. I thought they'd throw up their hands and roll their eyes but they said, 'Let's do it.'"
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Poets, spoken word artists, and rappers will read their work in over 50 languages, including Wolof from Gambia, Amharic from Ethiopia, and Haitian Creole, BBC reported. The poets were nominated by the public online, who submitted over 6,000 nominations, according to the BBC.
The youngest writer is 24-year-old Akerke Mussabekova of Kazakhstan; the oldest, 83-year-old Anise Koltz from Luxembourg, the Telegraph reported. Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney of Ireland and Nigeria's Wole Soyinka and poet laureates Kay Ryan of the US and Bill Manhire of New Zealand are also signed up to attend, CBC News reported, as is Jang Jin Seong, the court poet to North Korea's former dictator Kim Jong-il. Seong fled Kim's regime, and now lives in South Korea.
“We believe that if there are sportspeople in all of these nations, there must be writers too, and we aim to keep searching until we find them all," said Jude Kelly, the Southbank Center's artistic director.
The full list of countries who still need representatives is available on the Telegraph's website.