The Poetry Takeaway

Hey, so do you remember those posts I did from way back in August about setting up a ‘Poetry Takeaway’ on the streets of Edinburgh? Basically, the idea was that me and a bunch of poets sat on the Royal Mile, offering people free, bespoke poems written on any subject they like in 10 minutes or less. Then they’d get a live performance of their brand new poem, and the world’s only copy of it, signed, to keep.

Back then, it was just a shitty Argos camping table that we set up next to a bin. But even then, it was still a pretty beautiful experience. I went back and deleted ‘beautiful’ just then, because it seemed like a really floaty insincere thing to say, but sod it, for me, it was beautiful. Also fun, sometimes cold and wet, occasionally a chore, but mostly exciting and challenging and one of the best projects I’ve ever done.

Well, the project didn’t end there. I teamed up with Tom Searle of Show+Tell, we got some funding from the wonderful Ideastap, and we’re now in the process of converting an actual real burger van (yes, I know) into a fully operational Poetry Takeaway that we can take all around the UK. Watch the video below to find out more:

Thing is, it’s predictably expensive to purchase, refurb and make road and poesy-worthy an entire takeaway van. So we’re trying to rustle up a tiny bit more funding – kind of passing the hat round to get us over the line. If you click this link here, you can go onto the brilliant WeFund website and make a small pledge in return for one of the ‘perks’ listed down the right hand side, from getting your name on the van (plus our sincere gratitude!) to having the Poetry Takeaway come to your event for a whole day, poetry chefs and all, to serve up verse to all-comers.

I like to think of this as a bit like one of the This American Life pledge drives. I’m not as charming or talented as Ira Glass, but I do always ‘chip in a couple of bucks’ as he so winningly puts it, because it is a supercool show, and I like a world that has supercool things in it. Why not get involved and help us get our show on the road? And hey, if you’re an event organiser or poetry producer or involved with the arts or you know someone who is, why not get in touch to see if we can bring the Poetry Takeaway to your festival/arts event/school/wedding/shopping centre/insano pain dungeon. We’re taking bookings now and we’d love to squeeze you in!


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