Archive for July, 2011
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.
Tomorrow we embark upon the maddest event we’ve ever attempted (and we are known for having odd ideas).
The Great West Midlands Poetry Relay is a big ask, but we are so excited to be doing it. We want to thank, and wish luck to, everyone who has agreed to be involved.
Our poets, Emma Purshouse, Philip Monks, Malcolm Dewhirst, Helen Yendall, Rohit Ballal, Adrian Johnson, Deborah Alma, Kurly McGeachie, Dave Reeves and Roz Goddard – we can’t wait to hear your poems and hope you’ve packed your sandwiches and got your comfortable travelling clothes on ready to step onto the poetry bus. The bus will be packed with snacks, pens, paper and other things required to keep ten poets alive for twelve hours.
We’re also delighted to be working with the guys over at Monty Funk who are coming with us and recording audio all day that they will then edit into a series of podcasts about the Relay – you’ll be able to experience the poems long after the day’s events are over. They will be available online and even mapped so you can download them in the places they were created.
Thanks are also due to our friends at Project Pigeon
We also want to thank our venues, all ten of them, without whom this wouldn’t be happening. We can’t wait to see how the shoppers at Hatton Country World or the cinema goers at Telford Odeon react to our bus rolling up and the inevitable outpouring of poets.
Lastly, thanks are due to Arts Council England and the Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend team for supporting the event.
We will be LIVE BLOGGING tomorrow on this site – as often as we get signal, we will be updating to let you know where we are along the route, how big and unruly the poem is becoming and who has been travel sick.
Lastly, we’ll be on BBC Radio WM tonight after 9pm, on the Loyd Williams show, and on BBC Radio Stoke tomorrow at 7.15am talking about the Relay, so listen out for us.
That’s it for now – we’re off to polish the megaphone and pack the bus!
It’s that time of the year again. Birmingham Libraries are currently seeking the next Birmingham Poet Laureate.
The new laureate will compete for the title against other hopefuls, performing around the city on National Poetry Day (6 October) and ending up at our Festival Launch for a special live announcement that evening.
Full Details about the scheme and how to apply can be found here. The deadline is 12th August 2011.
This is a unique opportunity to get involved with the writing community in Birmingham and promote poetry in the city. Good luck!
To celebrate the Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend on Saturday 23rd July 2011, ten poets will complete a poetry relay across ten locations in the West Midlands.. This will take the form of public events in different venues, including stations, libraries, Polesworth Park, Hatton Country World, a motorway service station and the Pie and Ale Pub in Stafford.
At the first location, poet A will write and perform to an audience the first segment of a collective poem. They will then join a team minibus and be taken to location two. There poet B will read the first segment and continue in that vein, writing their own segment. Then poets A and B will each perform to an audience. They will then be taken to the third location, where they will be joined by Poet C. The team of poets and segments of the poem will grow until ten segments and ten events are completed. All the finished pieces will then be attached to ten racing pigeons from Project Pigeon who will be released to carry the ten segments of the poem back to their Birmingham loft. The order in which they arrive back will determine the final manifestation of the poem.
|8am||Stoke On Trent, Railway Station, Booking Hall, ST4 2AA||http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sot/details.html|
|9.15am||Burton On Trent, Library||http://www.istaffordshire.co.uk/profile/282991/Burton-on-Trent/Burton-Library/|
|10.15am||Polesworth Abbey Green Park – as part of Love Abbey Green event with Touch FM, B78 1DU||http://www.loveparksweek.org.uk/Whats-on-detail.aspx?EventID=85eb71fa-46e0-40cb-a6db-1c9abc2266e8&County=Warwickshire|
|11.40am||Hatton Country World, Toffee Shop, CV35 8XA||http://www.hattonworld.com/shoppingvillage/|
|13.10pm||Worcester Arts Workshop – Cafe Bliss, WR1 1RU||http://www.worcesterartsworkshop.org.uk/aboutus.asp?menuID=Cafe%20Bliss|
|14.30pm||Malvern Hills – British Camp (Herefordshire Beacon) car park||http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=wr136dw&hl=en&ll=52.063573,-2.345753&spn=0.018864,0.038581&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=18.61907,39.506836&z=15|
|16.05pm||Bromyard Town Green – behind the Public Hall near St Peter’s Churchyard
|17.15pm||Highley – Severn Centre forecourt, WV16 6JG||http://www.severncentre.co.uk/index.htm|
|18:20pm||Telford Odeon, Forgegate, TF3 4NE||http://www.nationalvenues.co.uk/shropshire/telford/telfordodeon.htm|
|19:35pm||The Pie and Ale House, Crabbery Street, Stafford, ST16 2BA||http://www.pieandale.com/|
Here’s a google map of the day!
Come along to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad and get involved in the creation of the relay poem which will be inspired by each place the poets visit and the concept of a relay race!
Follow the relay on twitter (@gwmpr) and see where we are along our route!