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Poetry on the Lake



2015 Competition closes 1st April 2015.
The theme of the  Milan Expo 2015 is Feed the planet; the suggested competition theme broadly covers: Wining & Dining or Thirsting & Starving.
Interpret as widely or as wildly as you wish.
NB. All entrants to competition may attend the October readings free of charge!

Patron of POTL is  Carol Ann Duffy, poet laureate UK, 
who described the POTL annual celebration  on 
the South Bank Show, ITV, 6 December 2009 as:
"...perhaps the smallest but possibly the most perfect poetry festival in the world".

We are delighted that HM Queen Elisabeth has nominated Carol Ann Duffy 'Dame'and that Imtiaz Dharker has received the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry.

the anthology
'Hildegard: visions & inspiration' illustrated in colour 
is available now from Poetry on the Lake (see Contact page)

Shortly a pdf of this book will also be available for download

Poetry on the Lake is the only poetry celebration in a 
guide book to Italy and see 

South Bank Show, 6th December 2009, Channel One, ITV & Guardian (Travel) 9th March 2012.
Other TV transmissions featuring Poetry on the Lake:
MagicaItalia (Rai 1 2011)  and Mixitalia (Rai 1 2012).

Also in The Telegraph, Sunday Times, American Reporter, La Stampa and many other papers and journals  see.

Poetry readings, workshops, discussions, poetry and dance and music take place all over the lake area: on the island, in the square, on Sacro Monte, in the woods, around the chapels, in the historic palaces (see Palazzo Ubertini) on board ship ('una barca di poeti'- una crociera poetica, October 2010), at Omegna, Orta, Varallo, Invorio, Ameno - poetry has become dynamic! And in 2013 and 2014 we added a lake, Lake Maggiore, centering the event at Villa Carlotta, Belgirate.

Founded in 2001 and organised by Gabriel Griffin, assisted by
Kevin Bailey and Robert Morley, the seat is on
Isola San Giulio,
the antique island on Lake Orta in the Alpine foothills of northern Italy.
Annual events include the spring international competition and the

autumn celebration. Poetry on the Lake edits anthologies and a journal.

Isola San Giulio seen from Orta main square

Past adjudicators:
Al Alvarez, Kevin Bailey, Gary Bills, Carole Baldock, Massimo Bocchiolo, Gillian Clarke, John F. Deane, Imtiaz Dharker, Carol Ann Duffy, Anne-Marie Fyfe, James Harpur, John Hartley Williams, Christopher North, Brian Patten, Don Paterson, Jo Shapcott, Penelope Shuttle,Michael Swan, D.M.Thomas.

In preparation the second edition of Reflections on Lake Orta, anthology of poems on Orta by poets who have participated in the annual celebrations, including the poem Orta by Carol Ann Duffy. See


Poetry on the Lake has much prestige but extremely little funding so: why not sponsor our events? Your logo and news on flyers, posters, press releases and this website would reach a public of thousands.
Or become a Friend by making a donation. 

 contact or


Culture is at the bottom of the list for funding in 2015 and Poetry on the Lake falls between two stools - British orgs won't fund because we are in Italy, Italians hesitate because the events are mainly (but not only) in English.


updated 3rd March 2015

counter installed 30th June 2010



© copyright Gabriel Griffin-Hall