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At 2022 Annikki Poetry Festival, the present will engage in dialogue with the past under the theme ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’. The event will examine the influence of previous generations of poets and artists on the present day and on the creative work of the performers at the festival. Organised now for the 16th time, the Annikki Poetry Festival will once again feature prominent international performers, a fine and surprising selection of Finnish poets as well as music, prose writers, children’s programme and visual arts. There will also be a surprise guest known to all Finns.

The International Performers

One of the festival’s international performers is the American Flying Words Project. It will give the Finnish audience its first introduction to American Sign Language poetry, originally written in sign language. Sign language has usually only been seen in poetry when poetry created by people who hear is interpreted into sign language – this time it is the other way around! Sign language enables rich use of movement and space, resulting in a unique type of poetry that is entirely its own.

Other international performers include one of Britain’s most highly appreciated poets, Imogen Stirling from Scotland, and the Spanish-Icelandic Elías Knörr, whose performance will offer fireworks of multilingual poetry combining recitation and singing. Born in Syria, Ghayath Almadhoun writes poetry that often deals with war, destruction, death and the guilt of a person who has left their home country. These themes have recently become familiar to Europeans in a new way. Almadhoun will be introduced to the audience by author Hassan Blasim.

The Finnish Performers

The poetry festival’s Finnish performers include names like Marja-Leena Mikkola & Kielo Kärkkäinen. Kärkkäinen will perform classic songs with lyrics written by Mikkola, who started her career in the 1960s. Our other domestic performers include Pertti Seppälä, Ursus Factory, Heli Laaksonen & Harri Hertell, Johanna Venho, Antti Paalanen, Jukka Viikilä, Pelkkä Poutanen and Pelle & Romantiks.

The Title Artist

The title artist of the Annikki Poetry Festival is Teemu Mäenpää. A mural painted by Mäenpää in summer 2020 and produced by the poetry festival, Tree of Poetry is located in the vicinity of the festival site. Tree of Poetry has become a new landmark and one of the most prominent public works of art in Tampere.

Annikki Poetry Festival since 2003

In 2003, the residents of the 100-year-old Annikki Wooden Quarter in Tampere founded a poetry event in their courtyard. Since then, the Annikki Poetry Festival has developed into one of Finland’s largest and most international poetry events and most original cultural festivals. Its Artistic Director is poet J.K. Ihalainen. The festival is organised by volunteers every two years.