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Poetry in motion in Siem Reap and Chiang Mai

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Culture vultures get ready – artist and Hotel 1961 owner Loven Ramos is organising his latest artistic venture, the inaugural Northern Kingdoms Poetry Journeys.

This is a “two-city, seven-day adventure of culture, workshops, readings and tributes to the written and spoken words,” taking place in Siem Reap and Chiang Mai from November 2-9.

The festival will kick off in Siem Reap on November 2 with a poetry and meditation workshop with Joel Altman at Hariharalaya Retreat near the Roulos temples.

“It is going to be about meditation and tuning into your creative energy,” explains Altman. “We’re going to start with lunch. We’ll share a beautiful meal together with local, fresh, colourful food. And then we’ll sit down and do a two hour workshop, with some really basic movement and breath just to get us grounded.

“Then we’ll talk a little bit about creativity, expression and life and give people time to go out first without pen and paper and just explore the natural world and the present moment, and then,  with pen and paper, see what can come out of that presence.”

He adds, “I may also tie in some mixed media, because often we’re trying to write poetry and we’re stuck in the words. But sometimes playing some music, singing or moving the body helps to unblock the energy.”

The following two days in Siem Reap includes Poets in Tuk Tuks, a creative visualisation workshop by Marcel Milliam, an experimental sound workshop by Jan Cornall, and poetry readings at Angkor Wat,  led by Marjorie Evasco.

There will be visits to Ta Prohm, the Bayon and Baphuon,  and a breakfast picnic and screening at Wat Enkosei of a documentary on the ancient Khmer lyrical poetry style, smot.

Hotel 1961 will host a night of poetry and music on November 3, and on November 4 a new exhibition by local artists Oun Savann and Darshana Bolt will open.

The festival then moves to Chiang Mai, starting on November 8 with Poets on Tuk-Tuks, and travelling poetry sessions and paste ups around the Old City.

The schedule also includes Water and Poetry on the Ping River, readings at the Writer’s Club & Wine Bar, and poetry readings in the Royal Flora Park.

All workshops and readings are free.

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