Places of Poetry Places of Poetry

Prepare to pin your poem to our map

Map curl example

Places of Poetry is an exciting 2019 community arts project, centred on a distinctive digital map of England and Wales. Through the course of a four-month summer public campaign, writers from across the country will be invited to write new poems of place, heritage and identity, and pin them to the map. Places of Poetry will prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place.

For centuries, authors have used poetry to reflect on local and national identities. One poet, Michael Drayton, published the epic of national description, Poly-Olbion (1612, 1622), that included the county maps to be adapted for Places of Poetry. The modern technology of crowd-sourcing enables us now to involve writers of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience in reflection on places and their histories. Government figures indicate that 1.4 million adults in England have written poetry in the past twelve months. This project is for them; but it is also for younger writers, Welsh writers, and those from outside the country with an interest in English and Welsh history and geography.

The map will be overlaid on Ordnance Survey data, on a platform that enables users to slide between the two and zoom in to a high level of detail. Writers will be invited to pin poems to sites that have inspired the writing. Materials to be published on the website, developed in collaboration with The Poetry Society, with support writers through the process of composition.

Events and activities will be staged at our heritage partner sites across England and Wales to promote the project and generate new writing. In addition, a poet-in-residence will be situated at each partner site, to write and engage with the public. Our confirmed heritage partners include: Avebury (National Trust), Big Pit National Coal Museum, Byker Community Trust, Caernarfon Castle, Ely Cathedral, Hadrian’s Wall (National Trust), The Oval (Surrey County Cricket Club), Peak District National Park (National Trust), Roman Baths, Severn Rivers Trust, Sherwood Forest (RSPB), Stonehenge (English Heritage), and the Wordsworth Trust. Materials will also be produced to support other heritage sites – of all kinds and sizes – to become involved and create their own activities and events.

The Places of Poetry is led by the renowned poet Paul Farley and the academic Andrew McRae. It is based at the universities of Exeter and Lancaster, and generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. It is underpinned by national partnerships with the Ordnance Survey and The Poetry Society. 

Follow the project – towards our public launch in May – on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.