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Victoria Adukwei Bulley Performs Moving Poetry Reading at London Peace Symposium 2022

Victoria Adukwei Bulley reciting her poem at Japan Institute’s London Peace Symposium. Photo by Hayley Madden.

Japan Institute is holding Peace Symposia on six continents, the first having been held in Tokyo, Japan on September 21, 2022 and the second in London, England on December 6, 2022. Attendees of this second symposium heard keynote and welcome addresses, discussions on peace, art, and the human relationship with the natural world, and a commissioned poetry reading from Victoria Adukwei Bulley. Her poem, titled ‘Weather,’ is available to read below.

Related: Learn More About the Commissioned Poetry Read at the Tokyo Peace Symposium

Bulley, an award-winning poet who has received multiple fellowships and held residencies in the U.S., Brazil, and U.K. has been praised by The Guardian, which wrote, “Adukwei’s spirited and generous work is not always quiet: there are overtly political poems, poems in experimental forms, and a number of spectacularly powerful prose poems, including a long and dazzling riff on ‘noise.’”

This commission was conducted in partnership with the Poetry Society of the U.K., a globally respected organization founded in 1909 that advances poetry through its publications, competitions, and collaborations with international organizations. In an article summarizing their participation in Japan Institute’s London Peace Symposium, they shared that Bulley said, “The poem is an attempt to move away from narrative towards a more imagistic, sensory and embodied idea of peace — a kind that’s instigated internally and moves outwards from there.”

Guildhall, where the London Peace Symposium was held. Photo by Hayley Madden.

Joining Bulley at the Symposium were the winners of the Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network challenge, first, second and third prize winners Amy Wolstenholme, Elsie Hayward and Anisha Minocha, and commended poets Florence Hall, Scarlett McQuillan and Stella Phipps.

At the conclusion of all six Peace Symposia, Japan Institute will publish a book of the poetry that has been included in their programming. It will include work by winners of a challenge sponsored by Japan Institute and the Poetry Society of the U.K. as well as Fuzuki, Bulley, and other commissioned poets.

Weather by Victoria Adukwei Bulley

in the pink sunset
I read a future weather:
tomorrow, more sun /
tomorrow, more sun, slipping

into salt water
equatorial / little by little
against a sadder judgement
tomorrow, for once /

hand in hand for warmth
here before it’s gone too soon
not so magical / cause
& then effect

ice shelves in reverse – reset
teardrops in rewind /
eraser-like love
waiting at a water’s edge

whether there’s still time /
whether there’s none left
godly & impersonal
there & then it’s gone /

blink & then it’s back
in the red sunset dancing,
tomorrow, more sun. /
less certain than stone

more solid than glass aglow
love in principle /
peace still logical
all tomorrows’ tomorrows

futures still in bud

Japan Institute’s peace programming, including the London Peace Symposium, is made possible through Robert and Deborah Zagunis.