Words have power: words change lives. The words most loudly spoken in Northern Ireland are words of hate, sectarianism, racism, bigotry and division; we aim to change the message so that quiet, life-affirming words are not drowned out or silenced nor remain unspoken. Through the Poetry Jukebox we want to engage positively with individuals and communities to create shared spaces, which promote belonging, and a common and life-affirming identity. We want to play with innovative ways of using literature to amplify life-affirming messages - that life can be better, that discourse matters snd reflects our lived experience, expectations and attitudes, and thus the lived experience of individuals and communities. We aim to create a narrative for NI that says we are more, bigger and better. We want to amplify gentle voices and contribute to changing the message. We want to pull poetry from a silo and put it to work, for the good of everyone.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Poetry can capture the imagination and has at its core the ability, as Heaney wrote, to catch the heart off-guard and blow it open. We want to inspire imagination and thought. We want people to have fun. Poetry gives us small moments to experience our deep humanity, space to think, it gives us moments of escape – moments of clarity and peace, in a mad world. We want to create the opportunity to encounter poetry in surprising ways and unexpected places, to experiment with that which Joni Mitchel would say, is making things realer for the deadened. Inherent in the values of the Quotidian- Words on the Street Limited, is the aspiration to model, and experiment with ways to make literature, particularly poetry, accessible in public spaces.
Steps to get it done:
We want to inspire a movement towards increasing the visibility of poetry in public spaces. Ideas, while particular to a context, should also have the potential to be replicable and inspiring. We want to be part of enhancing the sense that the city is a gallery; that poetry and the city augment the animation of the other; that rejuvenation of poetry runs hand in hand with the rejuvenation of urban space. Ireland punches above its weight in poetry, and within that Northern Ireland has a particular elevation. We want to celebrate that, but work with other agencies such as urban planners, and those engaged with determining the public infrastructure to experiment with embedding that aspect of our shared heritage in explicit, playful, innovative and exciting ways. We want to bring an element of surprise and joy to people in urban landscapes, in unexpected and playful ways to un-expectant people, so that language and literature is where it belonbelongs: everywhere, and for everybody.
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