Engels and today's homeless on Twitter
Arts organisation arthur+martha have launched an epic Twitter poem in collaboration with homeless people in Manchester and Bury, including lines from the 19th century social campaigner Friedrich Engels. Interviews with many homeless and vulnerably housed people were edited by participants and by various writers to produce a long poem, which appears in tweet form four times a day at http://twitter.com/#!/tweetfromengels
The “verses” are snapshots in text of homeless lives, in all their moods. The poem imagines a dialogue between Engels, who wrote about the harshness of 19th century Manchester, and the city’s homeless people today. Interspersed through the poem is material from Engel's correspondence with Marx, and his classic The Condition of the English Working Class.
The project is in partnership with the Text Festival, The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door (Bury Housing Concern), Brighter Futures, The Booth Centre, The Lowry, LOVE Creative, the BBC. Poets and writers who've been involved include Steve Giasson, Geoff Huth, Copland Smith, and Anna MacGowan. The resulting long poem is being tweeted over the coming weeks and streamed as occasional online video by LOVE Creative. Visual versions of some of these texts will be shown on the BBC Big Screen in Manchester, commencing 5 August, the date of Engels’ death.