Perhaps no art form captured the complexity and terror of the First World War more acutely than poetry. Drawing on their experiences, poets used their art to reflect on the war’s impact: from the horrors of the battlefield to the ways in which the conflict rendered a familiar world unrecognisable to those left living in it.
Fierce Light brought together leading poets from countries that participated in the First World War, including Yrsa Daley-Ward, Jackie Kay, Bill Manhire, Paul Muldoon and Daljit Nagra, to create new works that endeavour to understand the incomprehensible; exploring contemporary events while also contemplating the First World War.
Launching with an exhibition and a special live event, Fierce Light featured the poets during the City of Literature programme at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016, before the poems and films were presented on radio, at other literary festivals and online.
The event and exhibition at Norfolk & Norwich Festival also included Simon Armitage’s commission Still, which has been published into a book. The film Known Unto God by Poet Bill Manhire and filmmaker Suzie Hanna was selected to be part of the competition of the Zebra Poetry Film Festival Münster/Berlin in 2016.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Writers’ Centre Norwich