The Poetry Periscope on Tour

30 poems from 30 European cultures in a travelling sound installation on tour around the UK.

This bright yellow ‘poetry jukebox’ first appeared on the Piazza of the British Library in from 27 April-19 May, and is now reaching its final stop of a nationwide tour throughout 2016/17 which has seen it delight audiences and commuters at the Brighton Train StationLedbury Poetry Festival, Birmingham’s New Street station and the Durham Book Festival. The tour concludes with a 3-month posting at St Pancras International Station until late-April 2017.

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 are each be available in their original language and a recorded English translation (see full list below).

“In the globalised 21st Century we need some means of speaking to ourselves and each other about our deepest hopes, desires and fears. Poetry can do that, in all its languages with all its rhythms and images, reminding us who we are and who we can become. The joy of the Poetry Periscope is that, like all periscopes, it lets us glimpse landscapes, in this case poetic landscapes, in a brand new way. It’s a great initiative and I’m proud to be associated with it.” – Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster

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 was in the UK, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, USA and Poland.

  • 27 April – 19 May 2016 British Library Piazza
  • 20 May – 29 June 2016 Brighton train Station
  • 1 July – 10 July 2016 Burgage Hall, for the Ledbury Poetry Festival
  • 12 July – 14 Sept 2016 New Street Station, Birmingham
  • 16 Sept –  9 Jan 2017 Palace Green Library, for the Durham Book Festival
  • 27 Feb – 30 April 2017 St Pancras International Station

Tour Gallery

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On social media

Join the conversation on Twitter via #PoetryPeriscope


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


previous events -> 



Tuesday 3 May 2016, 6.30 pm, British Library 

Hosted by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan, our launch event featured dynamic live readings of poems from across Europe that are featured in the Periscope, read aloud by UK poets Richard Scott, Gabriel Akamo and Charlotte Higgins, and with special guest readings from Michal Habaj (Slovakia) .

‘I’d like to see your eyes
widened by knowledge of truth.
It’s just a moment, but an eternal one.’
~ Michal Habaj (Slovakia)

In partnership with The Poetry Society and Piana na ulici


Wednesday 11 May, 5pm, British Libary 

A panel of poets with a passion for translation, discussed their thoughts on the Poetry Periscope project. The session asked how do you lift 30 European poems off the page and into the ear? And are some poems more translatable and transportable than others? Chaired by the Poetry Society’s Ed Doeger, the talk included poet and editor Kathryn Gray, poet and translator Jamie McKendrick, and Arvis Viguls, Latvian poet, literary critic and translator from English, Spanish, Russian and Serbo-Croatian.

‘ As a kid I liked knives.
In those days there were no other toys.’
– Arvis Viguls (Latvia)

In partnership with The Poetry Society