About 7 1/2 months ago, when I had been Hampshire Poet for about a fortnight, I sat down with Angela Hicken, the exceptionally excellent Literature Officer for Hampshire, and talked about what I wanted to do for my two years. One of the main things I wanted was to create a project – something that would get people across the county reading and writing poetry, that would be open to all. and that would be lasting result of my tenure in the post. We discussed the idea of an interactive poetry map: people sending in poems about particular places in Hampshire, to be displayed with a link to the place that inspired them. Angela thought it sounded suitable: strongly linked to the remit of the post – taking poetry to the people of Hampshire – and technically feasible. We thought perhaps it would be ready in April.
Well, it took a little longer than that, but now it’s here, and it’s every bit as good as I hoped it would be. The website has turned out marvellously, and the poems that are there already cover a fair bit of the county. Those extra months have given me time to run some Writing Hampshire workshops in places as diverse as Winchester Prison, Dene Court Andover, and Noadswood School, and you can see some of the fruits of those sessions on the site (more will go up later). On the front page there’s also my second Hampshire Poet commission: a brief poem in which I try to suggest and model how I think others could take up the challenge of writing about places in Hampshire.
So I hope that now you will take some time to browse the site; leave some comments on the poems that you enjoy; and, when you’re ready, submit your own poems for consideration. If you’d like a bit of help and inspiration, I will be running some Writing-Hampshire themed workshops very soon. I will also be doing more Writing Hampshire days in schools and with other groups; to find out more about these, please have a look at my Writing Hampshire page.
Image copyright jurvetson on flikr; used under Creative Commons licence.