Thursday, May 20, 2021

Placing Poems in Ireland


During lock-down most of us had our personal geographies curtailed. However physical restrictions on our movements didn't stop us thinking about far away places and people. In April Irish poet Roan Ellis-O’Neill asked the people of Ireland to write a poem about an imagined journey "away from the stifling reality of the pandemic". The result is the Placing Poems interactive map.

Placing Poems features poems about locations across the whole of Ireland. Each of the poems was submitted by a member of the public. The deadline for submitting poems has now passed but you can read the poems which were submitted simply by clicking on any of the markers on the Placing Poems interactive map. 

In 2019 a similar public art project was carried out in England & Wales. Places of Poetry was devised to inspire the English and Welsh to write poetry about the places that inspire them. The project asked budding poets to pin their poems about English and Welsh locations directly to the Places of Poetry interactive map.

The background map used for the Places of Poetry project is inspired by William Hole's engraved maps created for Michael Drayton epic poem Poly-Olbion (1612). The new map is an original work but is heavily inspired by Hole's highly decorative and iconographic style. The Place of Poetry map includes new icons celebrating some of the UK's most well known heritage sites. These include Stonehenge, Ely Cathedral and even the Oval cricket ground. Other icons on the map (for example for forests and farming regions) are more direct copies of Hole's iconography. The marine icons of Neptune, sirens and ships are also direct copies from William Hole's engraved maps.

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