Three Weeks In

By: Caitlin Jenkins

Added: 22 June 2019

So, the Places of Poetry project has kicked-off to a great start and three weeks in we’re amazed by the poems we have received. I am a research assistant on the project and have the pleasure of reading all the pinned poems that are being submitted. As a master’s student in literature, reading poems from all over the country every evening is the highlight of my day.

If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ll be aware that we’ve been picking ‘poems of the day’ and publishing them on our Instagram and Facebook page. With so many great submissions, it’s been a huge challenge to narrow down one poem at a time! We’ve seen all sorts of interesting poems, from engagements with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings such as Luciana Francis’ poem ‘A D-Day Poem’. Or if you’re interested in something a little bizarre, Sarah Doyle’s poem on the corpse discovered ‘woven’ into a tree – dating from 2200-1900BC in Gristhorpe, Scarborough is a great read- Check it out! If you’re looking for inspiration on where to start, some of my favourite poems have been when people have really used their imagination and put themselves in the shoes of their ancestors - this gives such a fun and unique perspective of history. Have a go at trying it yourself, there is sure to be some interesting results! One of my favourite poems that's really engaged with understanding place and history is Derek Adam’s poem ‘Rochford’s Story’, which gives a lovely tapestry of history spanning thousands of years in just a few lines. I love how such a simple poem can portray so much detail.

With such an eclectic range of poetry coming through every day I’ve found myself constantly googling events and locations, eager to find out more. Any fellow history-buff understands how interesting it is to learn about forgotten or unheard-of tales. These poems show that history can be found everywhere. They also show that even the mundane can be made into something beautiful through the eyes of a poet. It’s not just telling tales; it is seeing places you might have known your whole life through different eyes. This is another way you can get started on your poem - by exploring your relationship with the space around you. I really enjoyed Linda Coombes’ ‘Freedom to Home’ for capturing this personal and touching link between identity and location. Take a walk and consider the environment around you. Maybe pay attention to things you might normally take for granted. Or, check your local area on our map and see what tales’ people have shared and what images they’ve created. If you’re really interested, pick somewhere random – I promise you’ll learn something new or even be inspired to visit yourself!

What has been wonderful about the project is how many people have been inspired to write, from professionals to children – there’s a poet in all of us and seeing such a range of voices is great. If you haven’t submitted anything yet, let this be your inspiration – pick up a pen and share places that are interesting to you for their history, heritage and identity. If you have already been submitting, remember, there can never be enough poems!

If you want to get even more involved, keep up to date with our social media for more information about events happening near you. 

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