The Other Words International Poetry Festival began in San Francisco in Fall 1999, organized by the consulates and cultural institutes of several European countries operating in San Francisco, working together with two or three locally-based literary and arts institutions.
It allows for the rare chance that a poet writing out of an acutely particular cultural milieu and poetic condition might be heard by an audience from elsewhere. It offers the radical occasion for an audience of poetry to cut through crippling monocultural presumptions and witness a poet’s voice sounding from “the outside.” It builds on the groundwork of literary translators, mostly poets “carrying over” the work of the foreign to affect and sound alongside their own poetic practice.
The Other Words Festival initiates new meetings between distinctive poets and acts of poetry which otherwise, because of geographic circumstance and gaps between languages or, worse, “global-political” divides, tend to be assumed are incommunicado. It introduces difference to difference.