The Long White Thread of Words

17th October 2016 19:00
Kings Place
90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
The tongue
Is the spine’s first leaf
Forests of language surround it
– Words II

Mischievous, defiant, and profound, John Berger has mesmerised generations with his artworks, novels and cultural criticism that taught generations how to see. Commemorating Berger’s 90th birthday in collaboration with Smokestack Books, we celebrate his magnitude as a poetic maestro, a rarely explored trajectory in his rich opus of work, with readings and discussion from those whose worlds he’s helped to shape.

Amarjit Chandan has published five collections of poetry, two books of essays, and has co-edited The Long White Thread of Words, a forthcoming collection of work from contemporary poets responding to John Berger, published by Smokestack.

Lavinia Greenlaw is an award-wining poet, novelist and artist whose collections include Minsk, which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry prizes.

Bejan Matur is a Turkish poet, author and columnist celebrated by Berger, and one of the most important poets among a bold new women's poetry emerging from the Middle East.

Tom Overton is the editor of Portraits: John Berger on Artists and the forthcoming Landscapes: John Berger on Art, both by Verso, and catalogued Berger’s archive.

Toby Jones is one of Britain’s most renowned actors, known both for his Olivier award winning stage work and his film roles including Frost/Nixon, Harry Potter and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.


The poetry read, at this event, in order:

  • Separation by John Berger

  • October by John Berger

  • Far Away by John Berger

  • Words II by John Berger

  • Mapping Memories by Amarjit Chandan

  • Time Consoled in the Stone by Bejan Matur

  • Baffle Roof by Khairani Barokka

  • The Visible John Burnside

  • Once in Europa by Cevat Çapan

  • Spring Necklace by Francis Combes

  • The White Page by Ian Duhig

  • Syrian Artist by Gerda Stevenson

  • Passport by Rafeef Ziadah

  • Louder but quieter by Lavinia Greenlaw

  • Ladle by John Berger

  • Kerchief by John Berger

  • Village Maternity by John Berger

  • Learning by Heart by John Berger

Event Location
Poet in the City Menu