The 21th World Congress of Poets was successfully held in Sydney, Australia from 7th to 11th, October, 2001, under the presidency of poet Robyn Ianssen.


This was the first time that the congress was placed in Sydney. Professor Elizabeth Webby, the Congress patron, opened this event at the official reception hosted by the Mayor of South Sydney on Sunday 7th October. The theme of the Congress was: "Poetry for World Peace in the New Millennium."


Following is an abstract from:


The organizing committee of the XXI World Congress of Poets in Sydney, included Indigenous poets, and many Bilingual poets who write not only in English but also in Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Polish, Spanish and Turkish. It was exciting and wide ranging week of readings, workshops and literary events.


Photo of Robyn Iannsen, the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the Congress. The Full Committee (in alphabetical order) wsa as follow:


Ludwika Amber (Editor),

John Bennett (Webmaster),

Ferit Berk (Deputy Chair),

Assad Cina,

Bill Collis (Editor),

Beatriz Copello (Secretary),

Ann Davis (Deputy Chair),

Anne Fairbairn,


Leonor Gouldthorpe,

Penelope Grace (Asst. Secretary),

Willing Hwang, 

Robyn Ianssen (Chair),

Trevar Langlands,

Marjana Majic (Treasurer),

Lizz Murphy,

Luo Ning,

Edilia Porcu-Vidal, 

Ron Pretty (Editor),

Kerry Reed-Gilbert,

Christine Shannon, 

Jeanette Wang,

Andy Yang, 

Phillip Yoon (Sponsorship).


Program of the 21 WCP


Sunday7th October


2-3.30pm Government House, Macquarie Street, Sydney


Visiting the Vision. Visit Government House of New South Wales

for a poetry reading in conjunction with Carnivale


Listen to the poetry of Australian poet Ann Davis (Chair)


Cocktails and Light Buffet


Welcome to Country - Allen Madden

Welcome to Congress - Robyn Ianssen

Overview: World Congress of Poets - Rosemary Wilkinson

Welcome to overseas visitors

Mayor of South Sydney - Councillor John Fowler

Launch of Anthology: The Opening of Borders by Professor Elizabeth Webby. Presentation of artist Michael Kefaloukas - surrealist art works on display and performance poet Robert Balas for the accompanying ten metaphysical poems.



Monday8th October


Introduction and welcome to Congress - Robyn Ianssen


Keynote Address - Professor Elizabeth Webby



Influence of Poetic Language on Prose/Fiction

Chair - Prof. Elizabeth Webby


Indigenous Readings - Multilingual Readings - Poetry Workshop - Brook Emery - Papers: of Poetry of Peace - Music - Violinist Stan Kornel


Tuesday9th October


Poetry Rules - Chair John Bennett


Brief Encounters – Workshops - Readings – Spanish, Portuguese, Italian - Writing Poetry for Children - Poetry for Young People - Translating Poetry Seminar - Australian Bush Poetry - Poets and Publishers Head to Head - Multicultural Readings


Wednesday10th October


Walk & picnic-outdoor poetry readings - City Tour Bus around City – Opera House, Art Gallery - lunch Botanic Gardens, walk around The Rocks - Readings at the Charles Billich Gallery -


Thursday11th October


Australian Poetry Anthology in Polish, Edited by Ludwika Amber – Readings – Tapestry - Blossom Season – Love Poems - Refugee Poetry - Plenary Session - Farewell to Congress - Chilean Musicians – Renaciminto Andino


The anthology launched contained brief descriptions of poetic traditions from over thirty countries and the prize poems from the Poetry Competition. John Bennett – Judge commented: …" that three finalists let alone order them, as a result, i have avoided choosing a first, second, third by nominating three joint winners. They are (in the order I read them):


Five Pai verses by Bing Fu - A confession! Having written similar poems about Suzhou I felt immediately drawn to this short suite of poems. However, what makes these poems work so well was their use of new and exciting imagery within traditional modes and themes.


Here I am, Pablo by Ramon Cuelho - This ambitious poem gives a rock solid sense of the passion of poetry and its gravitas situated within a world of poetry and politics but always returning to the poetry again.


Perils of Translation by Danny Gardner - I thought the poem moving and apposite given the themes and intent of the World congress of Poets. Translation takes many forms, and, at various levels, communication is translation, to steal a phrase from the poem, 'dips 'an oar [ear] into literature's ocean'.


Congratulations not only to the winners but to everyone who participated. To quote the last line of Ramon's poem, 'It matters that we sing."


The Committee at the Farewell Dinner, 

Paddington Town Hall