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, 28 August 2007

When Librarians Are On Strike . . . They Still Need Reading Material . . . The Itinerant Poetry Librarian To The Rescue!

Being the goodly, gadfly, galumping, frisky-limbed limber Librarian wot we are innit, and what with the Vancouver Public Library Workers Strike still in full operation, we thought that such similarly goodly librarians might need a tome or two to peruse while they picketed Vancouver Central Library branch. So. We hot-footed it down there yesterday, set up on one side on a table, in the shade, then switched sides of the building and found the sun, and a whole lotta lovely librarians to sign up. Our librarian announced to the seated striking hordes:

"Librarians of Vancouver! We are a free travelling library of 'lost & forgotten' poetry, and we have come to support you in your right to strike as Library Workers. We note that with the act of your striking however, that it does seem to mean that you are unable to access reading material from your own library as you are on strike outside it. Our project is about reminding people of the importance of public libraries, and collecting what some may deem the ephemera of our cultural heritage. We are here to offer you access to some reading materials so that while you are striking you do not get bored. If you would like to join, come and see me over there [Librarian points to stone seat where she has set up the day's selection of books] and fill out a membership card and then return it to the office. We look forward to signing you up!"

And with that, we wandered back on over to our Library and started signing up librarians one by striking one.


Here's a striking librarian and Valued Patron of our Library enjoying one of our titles [Hungarian Poets] while on a break:

Such was the reading need of the striking librarians that it meant we stayed until 6pm offering our available stock, so we were unable to make it on over to Magpie Magazines where we'd been kindly offered a spot to set up. However, six members; a whole lotta striking librarians given access to the one public library still open in Vancouver; and a spot of arse-creak due to sitting on a stone wall for hours later and we were done for the day and offered FOOD. So, being the food whore that we are, we went with the lovely lady who gave us FOOD.

In between signing up striking librarians, we've had the good fortune to be taken around town and introduced to some of the sights [and sounds] of the city that Vancouver has to offer. With the help of Craig we got lost in Stanley Park at around midnight, nabbed the sound of Coal Harbour bell and the sound of the Pacific Ocean and generally had a good ole time (thanks Craig!)

So we've found:

The Church of Scientology. It's a funny green colour inside.

Someone's arse on a window frame.

An inspired Vancouver citizen's graffiti verse on a bus stop.

Vancouver landmarks.

. . . and an interesting warning sign.

Most of the time we've been doing Library Duty however, and our first library installation was at the wonderful Spartacus Books

where we signed up 12 new members over the course of our three days there.

A further munificent, magnificent 10 hour hardcooooooore library slot at the rad Regional Assembly of Text courtesy of Rebecca and Brandy saw us sign up 21 members in one day slash night, which means that after our picketing librarians library slot, here in Vancouver we've . . .

which also means that Vancouver now slides into the Top-of-the-Library-Pops membership chart, overtaking Norwich and Budapest who were in joint fourth place!


Ok! We gotta library to install on over at the Gaff Gallery RIGHT NOW!

Come Join Before We Travel On!

No comments: