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Prague, Bristol, Amsterdam, Barcelona: poet posts his poems by pasting them on city walls

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Meet The Writing Is On The Wall – a poet who ‘self-publishes’ by “bothering walls” with his poems. He came to Write Out Loud’s notice recently when he stepped up to the open-mic at the recent Morden Tower 60th anniversary event in Newcastle. It was a return to public spoken word for a poet who for the last couple of years – from Prague to Bristol to Amsterdam to Barcelona to London – has been concentrating on posting and pasting his poems on the walls of cities.

The Writing Is On The Wall, who also goes by the initials of DS, said the idea was that by “placing them in large format in the public realm they sit in places not normally known for poetry and amongst eyes that may not ordinarily read such. ‘Wall bothering’ has been a true source of joy which is increasingly hard to find in these trying days.”

Here's one of his poems, which can be found on his website, and which was posted in June two years ago: “There is a black square on the ceiling / The brush I used still wet / The stars are just beyond it / I will travel there not yet / It is key to the escape plan / There is solace through its door / I will paint the ceiling black again / Once twice or maybe more.”

Some of his poems are political. One of his more uncompromising compositions, posted in Montparnasse in Paris, read: “I wish to live in Paris / To be dragged like a small dog / I wish to live in Paris / While searching for my God / I wish to live in Paris / A wistful gaze across the Seine / I wish to live in Paris / To shit on Marine Le Pen.”

On his website TWIOTW says: “My great-grandmother taught me to read fluently when I was three years old. It proved to be the greatest gift I would ever receive. I have always written poetry. However, my writing was rudely interrupted for a quarter of a century.

embedded image from entry 136068 “Why? Well, you know what they say … what’s the difference between a poet and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four.” However, “when this weird thing called a ‘global pandemic’ came along, ramming a big stick into the hamster wheel of life, the words, returned, gushing out … they continue to do so.  

“A close friend of mine encouraged me to publish my words. The thought of seeing my poems laying sad and lonely in a well-heeled living room coffee table gave me the shivers … so with a bucket of paste and a trusty brush, I took my poems to the streets.

“I find true joy in ripping and pasting my poems on unsuspecting walls. As the changing seasons batter the paste-ups the impermanence brings me a source of great inspiration!”

The Writing Is On The Wall told Write Out Loud: “For the last couple of years since Covid paused the wheel I have returned to writing and have 'self-published’ by bothering walls with my poems. I have taken the decision to get back to spoken word also and Sunday [the Morden Tower event] was my first reading back.”

He also revealed that he has previous in adopting unconventional ways of projecting his poetry. “I did do spoken word many years ago  ‘guerilla’ style by jumping on stages pretending to be part of the touring crew. Security was a lot more lax those days. I jumped up at the likes of Notting Hill Carnival, Glastonbury and Crystal Palace Bowl.”

At the Morden Tower event he delivered a quota of short, punchy, pungent poems, that included an ‘Ode to the Hipster’. You can follow The Writing Is On The Wall on Instagram where he has almost 11,000 followers, and inspect the wealth of his creative artwork here



◄ When did the ‘culture wars’ really start? Maybe back in the 60s …

A Darker Way: Grahame Davies, Seren ►

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