'My kingdom for a train' ... poems for 18 rail stations along the Shakespeare Line

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Rail passengers in the West Midlands can enjoy a little extra inspiration and entertainment when travelling on the Shakespeare Line – from Birmingham Moor Street to Stratford-upon-Avon - with the release of 18 specially written poems.

The poems by 18 West Midlands writers were commissioned for each of the 18 stations along the line. Passengers can download the poems using the Overhear app on their mobile phones, and can listen while travelling, at the station or when they get home. 

The Poetry on the Shakespeare Line project includes a stirring and inspirational video poem, ‘The Journey’ by Casey Bailey, for the entire line, which has archive steam train footage, references to the Forest of Arden, and lines such as “Friends, Brummies, Stratfordians … my kingdom for a train … we could leave from platform 2b or not 2b …”

The project has been organised by Black Country poetry collective Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists. Steve Pottinger, from the collective, said: “These are poems of wit and humour, history and hope. Whatever your taste there will be something for you and we hope passengers will see the Shakespeare Line through fresh eyes once they have heard them.

“Some poems highlight the role of industry, the pleasure of travel, the spirit-lifting green spaces along the route and above all the importance of the Shakespeare Line in connecting people and communities.”

The project has been funded as part of the Your Community, Your Fund scheme, financed by the Department for Transport. Poets worked closely with 'Friends' of the stations, the volunteers who give their time freely to work on the landscaping and upgrade of their local stations. 

Fay Easton, head of community and stakeholder for West Midlands Railway, said: “This project has been a joy to watch unfold.  The commitment of the poets to really understand the locality and people has been inspiring.  I am delighted that the timing for the release of the poems is happening just as more passengers are beginning to return to rail. Poetry can magically bring people together  and we are so pleased to have been able to support this project as we continue to celebrate and connect more closely with our local communities.”

The poems will be installed on station noticeboards later this year. Poets involved in the project, from Moor Street to Stratford, were: Joe Cook, Nafeesa Hamid, Kurly McGeachie, Jasmine Gardosi, Hannah Swingler, Kibriya Mehrban, Spoz, Dreadlock Alien, Dave Pitt, Emma Purshouse, Roz Goddard, Steve Pottinger, Nellie Cole, Matt Black, Julie Boden, Jane Commane, Matt Windle, and Stanley Iyanu.



◄ Manuscript of Emily Bronte's poems may fetch £1.2m

'I hold my life above a sieve' ►


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M.C. Newberry

Sat 29th May 2021 15:11

I wonder how much train(ing) was required for this?
All aboard !?

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