New heritage project invites writers to contribute to a digital literary map

Exeter University’s Andrew McRae and the poet Paul Farley from Lancaster University are working in partnership on ‘Places of Poetry’, an exciting 2019 community arts project, centred on a distinctive digital map of England and Wales. Through the course of a four-month summer public campaign, writers from across the country will be invited to write new poems of place, heritage and identity, and pin them to the map. ‘Places of Poetry’ aims to prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, and celebrate the diversity, heritage and character of place.

The project is inspired by Michael Drayton’s poem Poly-Olbion (1612, 1622), which includes the county maps adapted for ‘Places of Poetry’. This map has been overlaid on Ordnance Survey data, on a platform that enables users to slide between the two and zoom in to a high level of detail. From the project launch on 30 May, writers will be invited to pin poems to sites that have inspired the writing.

‘Places of Poetry’ is open to writers of all ages and backgrounds, and there are opportunities for heritage and arts organisations to become involved. Events and activities (with poets-in-residence) will be staged at 13 heritage partner sites across England and Wales, while downloadable toolkits have been created to support other organisations to connect with the project.

‘Places of Poetry’ is funded by Arts Council England, the AHRC and the National Heritage Lottery Fund and partners include the Ordnance Survey and The Poetry Society.

Follow the project on Twitter, Instagram and FB: @placesofpoetry