Transpoesie 2022

Dawn Watson at TRANSPOESIE Poetry Festival

In September 2022 the EU National Institutes for Culture, Brussels, hosted the twelfth edition of the TRANSPOESIE poetry festival, an annual event celebrating the multiplicity of European languages. As part of this festival, poems from across Europe are showcased around the beautiful Parc du Cinquantenaire in the Belgian capital. This year Belfast poet, Dawn Watson, was selected by the Arts Council NI to represent our region and bring the vibrancy of Northern Ireland poetry to the people of Brussels, including key EU officials.

The TRANSPOESIE festival consists of a series of events with the collaboration of over 20 countries and regions who have representation offices in Brussels. Dawn Watson’s poem ‘Taking the Auspices’ was translated into French and Dutch and displayed on a banner in Parc du Cinquantenaire, for this year’s festival.  Dawn’s poetry often explores her native Belfast, joining imagery of nature’s fecundity with uniquely human struggles. Her poetry pamphlet The Stack of Owls is Getting Higher (2019) is published with The Emma Press. She is currently a poetry PhD candidate at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University, and is the recipient of an ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and has appeared in literary journals including Granta, The Manchester Review, The Moth, and The Stinging Fly. Her debut collection We Play Here is forthcoming with Granta Books in Spring 2023.

The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels was delighted to support the TRANSPOESIE event focusing on the concept of Poetry as a literary refuge for young artists (European Year of Youth). Dawn participated in this wonderful reading on 27 September 2022 held in the Instituto Italiano di Cultura. Dawn’s poetry was featured alongside poets Ana Svetel (Slovenia), Ieva Toleikyte (Lithuania), Grug Muse (Wales), Beatriz Chivite (Basque country, Spain), and Iona Lee (Scotland). The evening was a great success, with a fascinating discussion moderated by Belgian Journalist and Interviewer Nicky Aerts. The poets explored their reflections on their craft, advice they would give to new writers and how perceptions of poetry by women writers has evolved in recent years.

The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels was also pleased to co-host, with the Welsh Government and Scotland House Brussels, a brilliant TRANSPOESIE lunchtime poetry reading event on 27 September 2022, where poets Dawn Watson, Iona Lee and Grug Muse read their poems to an attentive audience in the Narnia event room. Have a listen to Dawn reading her striking poetry on our YouTube channel here:


To keep up to date with our events in Brussels, make sure to follow @BrusselsNI on Twitter and to keep up with Northern Ireland Poet Dawn Watson follow her on @yopopodawn.