Release of Utrecht’s International Chain Poem for World Poetry Day 2022

22 March 2022 - News
Poets and translators from twelve UNESCO Cities of Literature cities have jointly written a poem in one year.

The poem is titled ‘These are waiting days’ after the first words of the opening stanza written by poet Yentl van Stokkum for World Poetry Day 2021 (March 21) and translated by poet and translator Mia You. A year long, Utrecht Unesco City of Literature published a new stanza every month. Now the poem is back in Utrecht, where Yentl van Stokkum and Mia You have made a final stanza.

Manchester’s very own Rory Dickinson was one of the contributing writers to the collaborative poem. You can see Rory’s stanza below.



Writer and audio artist Wietse Leenders made an audio piece of the complete poem, incorporating the original audio recordings in the original language of each of the poets, followed by an English translation. The audio piece is almost ten minutes long and can be heard in full via the link below from World Poetry Day 2022 onwards (21 March).

The poem was initiated by Utrecht UNESCO City of Literature as a way to bring poets and translators into contact with each other during the coronavirus pandemic and to conduct a poetic research into what happens when we listen carefully to each other. In the present time it can be read or heard as a powerful call to continue doing so and to connect.

Utrecht has been an UNESCO City of Literature since 2017, making it part of the global network of UNESCO Creative Cities. UNESCO created World Poetry Day in 1999 to celebrate linguistic diversity through poetic expression. Utrecht’s contribution is one of a vast number of activities shared with and through the UNESCO network worldwide.

Read the poem here. Listen to the audio piece here.

Muziek/Sound design: Wietse Leenders
Mastering; Dennis Gaens
Voice over: Christiana Steenstr