I am delighted to share that I am going to be a part of an exciting new poetry project. ‘People’s Poetry on the Shakespeare Line’ is organised by Black Country collective Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists, in partnership with West Midlands Railway. Eighteen poets, including myself, have been commissioned to write poems for each of the stations between Birmingham Moor Street and Stratford-upon-Avon Stations – a route known as the Shakespeare Line.
On their blog, the Pandemonialists write ‘we couldn’t be more pleased to have this opportunity to bring fresh, contemporary poetry to the communities involved, and to showcase some of the incredible writing talent which exists in the Midlands’. The current Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey will be creating a piece for the Shakespeare Line as a whole.
Having frequently commuted along this route, sometimes as often as six times a week in the pre-Covid times, I am very familiar with the stations. I have seen them all at various times of the day, from dawn to dusk, and throughout each the seasons. I have seen deer, foxes, hares, and birds of prey in and above the fields that surround them. I have also written poems while travelling this line, and have had many creative ideas while watching the scenery spin by.
My poem will be about Danzey station, a rural ‘request stop’ with one of the smallest platforms along the line. It sits closer to Stratford-upon-Avon than Birmingham, in the picturesque countryside that sits outside both the town and the city. With a traditional black and white station sign, and a platform that is littered with pine cones and needles in the autumn, it seemed like a good choice!
Poems will start appearing throughout April and May, though the project itself will continue on into later in the year. For updates, keep an eye on the Pandemonialists website, their Twitter (@pandemonialists), or here – I’ll post a little more once I’ve gotten onto the writing of my poem!