Poetry Passports Please!

Key parts to the Peddling Poetry Project are finally gently sliding into place; firstly we have some fabulous cafes along the trail who have agreed to host the Stamping Stations. Then we have a selection of poems from the 600 posted into the Poetry Boxes, 150 or so have been carefully selected and geotagged ripe for the hunt. Then there are 5000 freshly printed poetry passports (in blue!) ready to be distributed to bright new poets across North Devon. Each stamping station will have some for you to pick up, plus many schools in North Devon will be supplied with a passport for each child. And finally we have The Tarka Trail itself, 20 miles of stunning scenery from woodlands to heaths, from estuary to nature reserves full of birds, air and sky.

The project went live on May day 2019, designed to coincide with the Beaford exhibition at the Burton gallery called HERE. But this special date reminds me of an old poem recited to me beside a standing stone in Kent. I wonder if this same magic of words in wild places will wash into this poetry project?

The fair maid, upon the first of May

shall walk into the field 

upon the the first of May

and wash in the dew

of the white thorn tree

and ever after handsome be


Image by James Ravilious and copyright of the Beaford Archives

What success might look like is inevitably many fold so from the outset we designed a layered approach to engagement.

Firstly, some families may just enjoy stamping their passports. I just know this will be fantastic fun in itself and kind of wish my kids were a little younger!! But inside each poetry passport are instructions taking you on to the next steps with details of how to hunt out the geotagged poems.

The final major step and the real test of the whole project / concept will be new poems pinned to the trail. I am certain they will, especially with these ingredients of Tarka Trail, North Devon landscape and a new digital toy of secret poetry, will it be just too hard to resist (we hope so!)

How many we will become involved and how many new poems will be pinned, only time will tell. All the stamping stations are now in situ and ready to go, all that needs to happen now is you.

Fingers crossed, and if you want to know when new poems have been pinned to the trail, then follow the Poetry Pin Twitter feed. For each new poem will generate a short snippet of poem on posting.

Finally, a quick thanks to Beaford team who have been un-ending in their support and energy with this project. One of the Stamping Stations is situated at The Burton in Bideford Gallery, who are also hosting the HERE exhibition listed above. A fabulous insight into the recent worlds captured on film by James Ravilious and Roger Deakins.