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Re-Mixed Borders

Re-Mixed Borders

Poet? Lover of flowers and / or vegetables? Want some poet-in-residence training? Read on, we have an opportunity for you!

Last year, the Poetry School and London Parks and Gardens Trust teamed up for a poet-in-residence training scheme centred on London’s Gardens. We called the scheme ‘Mixed Borders’.

Julia Bird from the Poetry School and Sarah Hesketh from LPGT (both poets themselves) gave sixteen poets a thorough how-to-be-a-resident training session, and then each poet was paired up with one of the gardens taking part in June’s Open Garden Squares Weekend. Churchyards, community gardens, rooftop vegetable patches – the various settings inspired new poems, projects, conversations and interventions. Reports and photos from the project are dotted around CAMPUS. We published a flicky book pamphlet of the new work, and in October, the poets read from their new work at the Talking Peace Festival.

It was one of the most successful projects we’ve ever managed … so we’re going to re-pot it for 2016 and run it again.

We are looking for a number of poets to take part in Mixed Borders 2. You’ll receive a training session on successful residency strategies, and work with one of the poets from last year to shape your own residency in a London garden. By the end of the project you should have a lot of material for new work, and experience enough to begin to source your own extended residencies.

You don’t need to have had previous poet-in-residence experience to take part in this project, but you do need to be writing at an intermediate to advanced level and be able to organise and carry out the particulars of your own residency. Mixed Borders 2 is open to all, but we particularly welcome applications from members of those diverse communities which are currently under-represented in this area of work.

How to Apply

Mixed Borders 2 has two aims …

* LPGT  are keen to extend the reach of their annual London Open Gardens weekend. By having poets in residence in a number of their gardens over the weekend in June, they hope to attract additional visitors, profile and publicity.

* The Poetry School is a firm believer in the power of poetry residencies, for the benefits they bring to both poets and host organisations. By offering these small, supported mini garden residencies as part of our programme, we hope to offer a fun and enriching experience outright, as well as giving participants the skills and confidence necessary to develop their own more complex residencies in the future.

* While Sarah and Julia will be able to give participants lots of pointers about how to organise their mini residencies at the training session/s, they  won’t be able to manage all the residency details for them as neither the LPGT or the Poetry School has enough staff hours to take all the individual projects on. This residency project is also for people who are writing at an intermediate to advanced level only (details here) Most of our activities are open access, first come first served – but Mixed Borders 2 will only going to work successfully if we match up the right poet with the right garden. So, before you apply, please can we check …

* Availability. You need to be able to come to the all-day session on 12 March 2016 at the Poetry School, and to be resident in your allocated London garden for both days over the weekend of 18 & 19 June 2016. The amount of contact between you and your garden owner in between times will depend on the style of residency you go for.

* Organisational Skills. Are you confident about establishing new relationships with your mentor and garden owner, sorting out the practicalities of visits and any events /exhibitions / interventions that are to take place during the June weekend? Are you happy instigating conversations with a wide range of garden visitors of all ages and interests? Both the Poetry School and the LPGT will be looking to promote the project quite widely, are you happy to be involved in a little light marketing and publicity work?

* Please email three of your poems and a short biography addressing the issues above and detailing any relevant experience to Julia Bird ([email protected]) by Monday 15 February 2016. We will make the decision about which poets we’re going to work with by the end of February.


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