The Great West Midlands Poetry Relay

I’ve been on the radio today – BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, to be exact – talking about an event I’m involved with tomorrow.

It’s part of the Cultural Olympiad’s Open Weekend, during which over 1,000 events will be taking place all over the country, marking one year to go until the London 2012 Olympics! (And if this is the first you’ve heard of the Cultural Olympiad or the Open Weekend, then I’m sure you’re not alone! I didn’t know about it either, until I was asked to take part in the Great West Midlands Poetry Relay).

So what will I be doing tomorrow….? Well, I’m poet number 4 in a relay of 10 poets, covering the West Midlands. But no, I don’t actually have to do any running or baton-passing, which is probably just as well! I have been given the wonderful venue of Hatton Country World and I need to be there, in position outside the Toffee Shop and with my poem (more about that in a minute), in time to meet the first three poets who will be turning up in a minibus at 11.30am. The idea is that we all then read our poems in turn and once we’ve performed, we all get back on the minibus and head off to the next destination.

All being well, we will finish with a grand finale tomorrow night in a pub in Stafford, when all 10 poems will be read and – this is my favourite bit – 10 racing pigeons, each representing one of the poems, will be released. The order in which they subsequently return to their loft, will determine the order of the final ten-part poem! How cool is that? (My pigeon, if it has anything like my sense of direction, will probably get lost and never been seen again).

Oh and I forgot to tell you, we’ve all had to write a poem imagining that our venue was hosting an Olympic event – so the idea is, that we all come up with some weird and wacky new Olympic events – I think! (at least – that’s what I’ve done! Or part done. Being me, of course the poem isn’t finished and probably won’t be until the morning!)

Anyway, if you’re interested, you can read more about it here and if you’re in or around Warwick tomorrow morning and you fancy a trip out to Hatton Country World (the weather’s supposed to be good!), I might see you at 11.40am, outside the Toffee Shop! (Wear a red carnation).

Hmm… I see that Writing West Midlands, the organisers, have just described this event on their blog as ‘the maddest event we’ve ever attempted’! I do sometimes wonder how I get myself involved in these things….!

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6 Responses to The Great West Midlands Poetry Relay

  1. Jenny Francis says:

    Good luck for tomorrow, sounds like fun. Hope the pigeon finds his way home, have often wondered how they train them to do that.

  2. Sounds great but I was just wondering – how do you get home from Stafford?

  3. Thanks for your good wishes. Yes, I was wondering about getting back from Stafford (!) but the mini bus will bring us back to Birmingham New Street if we need it. However, my lovely kind man is coming up to Stafford to watch the performance, have some pie and chips (that’s the incentive!) and will bring me back home at the end of the night! All poetry-ied out, I am sure!

  4. Hope it all goes really well. (Better not go inside that toffee shop until after the reading!)

  5. Jane Wharmby says:

    Congratulations on your pigeon coming home first! Where can we read your poem?

    • Jane
      Thanks! Yes, amazingly MY pigeon (yes, the one that I said would probably get lost and never be seen again!) came FIRST! What a shame the 10 poets didn’t have a sweepstake, as we planned to do (the mad ideas you have over 8 hours in a minibus, eh?!). We ran out of time in the end and we didn’t do it. You will be able to see – and HEAR – the poems on the website very soon, as I understand it. Watch this space! x

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