The Itinerant Poetry Library

Since May 2006, The Itinerant Poetry Librarian has been travelling the world with a library of ‘Lost & Forgotten’ poetry, installing the library & librarian and archiving the sounds, poems and poetry of the cities, peoples and countries she meets. Welcome to the project's blog . . . Our Itinerant Poetry Librarian lives wherever her library is - come join the cause!

FAQs: • Yes we carry our entire life and the library with us as we go • Yes, it is quite heavy • No, we're not mad. As Charles Simic said, 'But what if poets are not crazy?' That's the spirit boyo!

We exist to: remind people of the importance of free public libraries...subvert mainstream channels of distribution...remind people that access to knowledge should be free and not dependent upon economic wealth hierarchies... show people that poetry/art can provide answers to questions we ask of life...experiment in existing outside of 'the market' – thereby, instead, investing in social capital, social innovation and community.

We aim to make life taste better. Word.

Where have we been . . . ?

(2006) Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Paris, Barcelona, London, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Norwich, York, Antwerp, (2007-2008) San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Leipzig, (2009) Ulm, Chemnitz, Rotterdam, Huntingdon, Callander, (2010) Cork, St. Andrews . . . Where'd you like us to go? Can you help? Get in touch!

What We Are Up To Right Now . . .


Friday, 21 July 2006

Budapest and Out . . .

Michael Palin gets sweaty over poetry

So . . . Buda BYEBYE. After a record breaking week of membership and similar affiliatory behaviour, this week in the pest side things slo-o-o-wed the hell down. Tuesday saw the library installed at Kultiplex. As if anyone noticed. Oh no. They were too cool for a poetry library we thinks. Wednesday we jumped over to West Balkan, where members were more forthcoming, and some Hungarian dudes really dug our poetry washing line. We were also able to recommend some particularly good poetry titles to one of the young chaps, who then subsequently went off and spent a good half hour or more reading Ramona Herdman’s first collection, ‘Come What You Wished For’, and was so enthused about it when he came back to return the book that he asked if he could buy it. ‘We're a library’ we said. We don’t sell anything. But you can get it online through the small independent publishing house that made it, and we gave him the web address. Cool. We were then about to head on over to bed, but instead found ourselves at 2am in some random ‘artist’ warehouse slash abandoned building slash bar slash out there ‘space’. We talked to some Ssssss-TRANGE people. And set up the library on someone’s couch bed. And bagged one member, who by 4am had fully absorbed all our ByeByeLaws and realised he was entitled to submit a notice to affix within the library space, so he wrote out something and gave it to us. We will now affix said notice wherever the library is next. By 6am we made it to bed. . . and then had to get up very soon (on Thursday July 20th) to do a little more of the hard-core librarianship. We did a double shift, in the morning signing up 2 members at Bookstation, a lovely bookstore with a fantastic selection of Dictionaries, second-hand books, new titles and 3 whole shelves of poetry. We even got donated some poetry in Hungarian . . . huzzah! After the AM shift we had to lug the rest of our bags over the city and then slammed over to Kuplung, for our last shift of the Budapest stop. Despite approaching every person sitting in the courtyard where we were set up, no-one wanted to join, so we spent a few hours reading some short stories (no we don’t read our own library books that often - we have to take a break from poetry some of the time!). . . and so. Budapest. We iz lovin’ and leavin’ ya. We’ve 34 Budapest members since we arrived 2 weeks ago, and a whole lotta lovely people in the mix. We think there is potential here so we might have to be back . . . in the meantime, here are some of our sights . . .

Hoh-hee-hoh-hee-hoh . . . Budapest celebrates Bastille Day

West Balkan’s door where someone stole our poster from . . . yee gads!

Installed at WB

Half buildings. Budapest’s defining feature

West Balkan bar . . . a cool place to hang tight wit ya library

A new member carefully filling out his library card at WB

We read FICTION not POETRY dudes!

How we take our coffee on a Budapest boat

We see the light at the end of the Budapest tunnel. We like light.

Hold on to that child!

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