Check down the back of your sofa for coins, what do you find? Coppers, shrapnel, cents, francs and thrupenny bits? Your handful of change could be the basis for a handful of new poems – The Poetry of Money is a forthcoming workshop with Claire Crowther. Claire is the current poet in residence at the Royal Mint Museum, and writes …
‘I am halfway through a year’s residency at the Royal Mint Museum, which is sited at the heart of the Royal Mint itself in Llantrisant near Cardiff. Kevin Clancy, Head of Historical Services, has supported a residency aimed at responding in poetry to the astonishing artefacts in the museum and to the thousand year history of coinage represented there. Graham Dyer, Librarian and Curator at the Museum has regaled me with many fascinating stories: mint masters having their hands chopped off for poor work, Isaac Newton, perhaps our most celebrated physicist, taking on the business of coinage with relish. I have spent many hours with Lucy-Ann Pickering, Education and Learning Manager, being tutored in the ways of the Mint and escorted through the factory, seeing every stage of minting, from the melting down of metal to the final waterfall of freshly-died coins into shiny new life.
My aim is to relate the material nature of coins to a life lived through money, as ours inevitably is. Coins are tiny storehouses of history, little diagrams of power politics, mementoes of a culture, expressed through words and pictures. The past decade has been exciting for coin design. I’m looking forward to helping workshop participants examine coins physically, assemble the words of money, discover the money metaphors that underlie our everyday language, and contribute new poems to the development of our narrative of money. Such a subject for poetry has never been more timely and reading the poetry of money – there are some superb poems already written – never more illuminating.’
Claire Crowther’s poems and reviews have appeared in journals including London Review of Books, Long Poem, New Statesman, PN Review, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Shearsman, The Times Literary Supplement and also online at Blackbox Manifold, Molly Bloom, Qualm. She has published three pamphlets and two full collections and was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Best First Collection prize. She is poet in residence at the Royal Mint Museum 2014-2015.
Claire’s one day workshop – The Poetry of Money – is on Saturday 7 February at the Poetry School in London. Book online or ring us on 0207 582 1679