The fourth of these we have run, it is so pleasing to see that people still have the desire and courage to experiment with their creativity in this way.
From 11pm to 5am we wrote, drank coffee, snacked on unhealthy sugary things and wandered inquisitively around the warren of warehouses and stores that make up the Museum Collections Centre in Birmingham.
Over on our October Festival Blog, our student journalists are beginning the long process of writing this up, with more detailed interviews, images and examples of creative writing to follow.
You can also catch a piece about the workshop on BBC Midlands Today on Monday 3 October 2011 at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.
Saturday’s relay was a great success. We careened around the West Midlands in a minibus, racing through high streets and across parks to perform our poems in relay. All of our poets made it to their alloted destinations, all of them wrote their 20 lines, and we released ten pigeons from the brilliant Project Pigeon who raced back to Birmingham and determined the final order of the poem.
As the day wore on we lost time, gained it back, grabbed cups of tea where we could, infiltrated cinema queues and park festivals, performed live on Touch FM, entertained a pub garden full of walkers on the Malvern hills, and delighted the security guards and station managers at Stoke station. Kids on bikes helped us release our pigeons, elderly wanderers took a quick rest to listen to us in Bromyard, and dog show enthusiasts got more than they bargained for in Polesworth.
It was a fantastic day of surprises, laughs, rushing around and excellent poetry. All of our poets responded to their task in different and interesting ways, and the words we got to know well by the end of the day seemed ever more relevant as the band of merry poets grew.
- Unsuspecting walkers at Malvern
However, a relay is still a race, and we must tell you the results!
Our ten pigeons arrived safely back on saturday evening, and once they had a quick rest they revealed the order in which our poems returned. The full poem will be written up for you soon, but here is the final order as they flew in…
- Hatton Country World’s poem by Helen Yendall came in first.
- Second was Bromyard’s ode, by sack-racing Deborah Alma.
- Next in was Burton-On-Trent’s ode to beer, by Philip Monks.
- Fourth was Telford Odeon’s poem about the art of queuing by aptly dressed Dave Reeves.
- Fifth was Adrian Johnson’s poem for the Malvern Hills about cycling.
- Sixth was Polesworth, with Malcolm Dewhirst’s poem for the park.
- Seventh was the place it all began, Stoke on Trent, with Emma Purshouse’s imagining of Platform Diving.
- Eighth was our final venue, Stafford, with Roz Goddard’s offering on pies and snorkelling.
- Ninth was Worcester’s stain glass making ode, by Rohit Ballal.
- Tenth was Kurly McGeachie’s poem for Highley, hot coal shovelling!
- The pigeons take flight
- A bus full of poets!
Here are a couple of pictures of the day, but watch this space as the team from Monty Funk , who followed us around for the entire 12 hours recording, will be producing some audio/interactive content for us – to mark the day and build a lasting legacy as we head towards London 2012.
Gracious thanks to all of our venues, poets (special mention to Emma P, who was first on the bus and performed her poem no less than TEN times) and team – we all had a wonderful day, and the weather held.
Particular thanks to London 2012 and Arts Council England for inspiring and supporting the venture.