The First Virtual Poetry City

Exeter Poetry Pin will, from Monday 9th January 2017, be the first virtual poetry city!

Monumental news which I have been keeping close to my chest as it feels just too good to be true. Some people pick up scratch cards and lottery tickets, other trawl antique markets in the hope to strike it lucky, but for me it’s Poetry Pin which can provide riches and rewards. For late last year in response to the fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter City Council got in touch wanting to provide city residents with a mechanism to engage their thoughts and views about the city through poetry.

My works with Lynmouth Pavilion and The Exmoor National Park over the last three years culminated in the publishing of a book called Exmoor Poetry Boxes – A harvest of wild words. The project placed six little tins in three different Exmoor locations over the summers of 2014, 15 and 16 harvesting words from passersby, by the end of the three summers we had over 5500 poems, an incredible achievement.

It caught the attention of The Guardian newspaper and national TV which was then picked up by an Exeter city councillor, thinking perhaps a similar approach could capture the sentiment about the fire and the wider city as a whole. After much deliberation, they considered the Poetry Boxes too vulnerable in the city, and so instead decided on the alternative digital option of the Poetry Pin system, which we have subsequently modified especially with Exeter in mind.

Partnering with Daisi – The Devon Arts Organisation the refreshed system will enable poetry to be posted anywhere across the city, a zone which is about 12km wide and covering segments of EX1,2,3 and 4. Anyone with a smart phone and visiting will be able to post and read poems woven into the very weft of the cities skin.

From 9th January the new Poetry Pin canvas will go live, and here are a few words from Daisi – Arts Inspired Learning about the Exeter Poetry Pin.

The aims of this project are, to engage and inspire Exeter residents to reflect, consider and put their thoughts into words, in order that others can share their experiences. The poems may be inspired by the fire or they may be about the city itself, their sense of place, importance of heritage or something else related to the city. The geo location of each poem adds an extra dimension to the poetry, as it will locate the poem to the specific point in the city where the author stood, thus giving the reader a sense of place and connection.

So charge up your phone and go searching and posting poems, the dawn of the virtual poetry city is upon us with Exeter as the figure head.


Daisi – Arts Inspired Learning

Lynmouth Pavilion and Exmoor National Park

Exmoor Poetry Boxes Book – a harvest of wild words

the new trail –