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, 23 June 2006

How to Install a Poetry Library in Someone's House in Dresden

Our second day in installation at the bookshop was met with a thundery sky and sudden spots and then a burst of rain. Wednesday in Dresden saw grey clouds, and very itinerant weather. We had just laid out all the books, like so . . .

. . . when the sky opened and downpoured the rain. We grabbed our books, flyers, bags of haikus, and scrambled for the relatively safety of the entrance to the bookshop. We stood on its ledge. The edge to its entrance. The bookshop owner is still a little suspicious or perhaps confused about our motives, or indeed, motivation, so we didn't want to venture in too far. Ah so. Rain. Rain + installing a library outside = Bad idea = Books get wet = Librarian gets wet = Librarian's only library suit gets wet = grumpy librarian. So we moved. Boy did we move. Andreas had left a message at the bookshop saying if it rained we could find him and maybe he could help. This we did. And he suggested we could perhaps set up the library at his friend's house, a poet called Eric. This we did. Thus we had two new poetry library members, and we were fed delicious dessert at the same time as sitting with our library, observing our borrowers, in their own house. We liked this installation so much that we think we are going to try and find some more people who would like a travelling poetry library installed in their own house, living room or kitchen too. So get in touch if you would. Later that same day we were also installed in a pub. It’s called Hebedas, and we were to meet a group of slam poets there. These were the instructions we were given on how to meet the poets: 'we are sitting on the round table left from the door. The first will come between 8 and 9 pm' and this was true. We found the round table. We found the poets. Then, as a good poetry librarian always does, I set up the library and made everyone join. Due to our environment I was also pressed into drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. We also managed to persuade a poet called Roman to read us one of his poems, which we recorded to include in our poetry podcast about Germany (coming soon!). After everyone had joined and had their fill of browsing poetry books I closed the library. Like so . . .

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