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 . . .


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

How to Install a Library Within a Library

Ah. The month of May. Moonshine, madness and library meanderings abound. May 4th saw us sign up a modest, minor, maiden member at our highly irregularly regular Library installation slot which occurs Every Friday at The Marsh from 7 - 10pm. The upside of the down was an invitation to sample a slice of pizza on over at the Pizza Takeaway place on 21st street & Valencia. You will feed me? said the incredulous Librarian. Yo. I iz there! While waiting for our vegetarian slice to sizzle into being, and being the good Librarian we are, we offered library membership to a lady also waiting in the pizza queue. "Do you require free membership of a travelling library of 'lost & forgotten' poetry Madam?" said the polite Librarian. "Why, I believe I do," said incredulous lady-in-waiting-for-pizza. Bingo! By the end of Friday May 4th we'd bagged . . .

A visit to a baseball game (boring, at least the game was, rather than the visit per se), the continued literary adventures of the Librarian in love with Library Science books (Libraries: Global Reach - Local Touch anyone? Awesome book!) and a few nights of website coding later and it was Friday 11th May, where we once again visited the delightful environs of The Sequoias Residential Home, to install the library for the benefit of members of the San Francisco Browning Society, who also asked us to read a Browning poem to open their meeting, as is their tradition. One new member later (Flora-Lyn, who was rather worried her hair that day might not pass the 'offensive hairstyle' test) and the returning of a book by a previous member (Vicki Feaver's The Girl in Red) followed by the borrowing of Charlotte Mew's The Rambling Sailor and we were done, dusted, debonair and thus able to dutifully decamp to the other side of town where we swapped our books back at Library HQ and headed off to install at The Marsh, where . . .

signed up and salted away the hours with a title or two from our collection.

Wednesday 16th May was also a big day for us, as we had not one, but two library-goings-on to attend to. First up, courtesy of Diamond Dave Whittaker

Image by Steve Rhodes

. . . we were invited to install the library in the plaza at City College. Comme ça:

Gaining in under two hours . . .

At which point we then had to leg it back to Library HQ, do the fandangled book swap thang, and then leg it on over to The Prelinger Library.

Yeah! A library within a library . . . our favourite tasty goodness library treat! Hurray for The Prelinger Library. In fact, double hurray for the Prelinger Library as not only did we have the privilege of installing our library in their library, but we got to wander round their stacks, swap some library banter with Rick & Megan, and even brought a new member in as Diamond Dave turned up at 6.30pm, when we were in the twilight phase of our 6 hour installation, and promptly got on like the proverbial house on fire with Rick Prelinger. Rock!

We also love the Prelinger Library because it is "An appropriation-friendly, image-rich, experimental research library. Independent and open to the public" and has its own categorisation system devised by Megan Prelinger. It is also an awesome space:

Image by Jessamyn

Image by Jessamyn

And they have some rockin' titles too:

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